ANCHOR LEAD: COMMONLY USED MEDICATIONS FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MAY HAVE A DOWNSIDE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Diuretics or so called water pills are often prescribed to help manage high blood pressure, but now a Johns Hopkins has shown that a drop in potassium due to the medication may explain why diabetes sometimes develops. Tariq Shafi, the study’s lead author, describes the findings.
SHAFI: We found two things that were interesting. One thing that we found was that most of the diabetes that had occurred had occurred early. In most of the participants the diabetes had occurred within one year of taking the medication. We also found that the loss of potassium actually explained much of the diabetes that occurred because of taking this medication. :23
Shafi says that about 50% of people taking this class of medications, known as thiazide diuretics, may develop type 2 diabetes, but this complication may be avoided by monitoring potassium levels in the blood and consuming foods, such as bananas, to help replace lost potassium. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.