One common cause of water retention is congestive heart failure (CHF). Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood throughout the body. It does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart is not able to pump blood the way that it should.
This can lead to symptoms of CHF that include shortness of breath; swelling of the feet, ankles, or lower legs; and rapid weight gain (see Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure for more information). Aldactone can help with water retention by helping the body get rid of the extra fluid. Aldactone does not cure congestive heart failure.
Water retention can be caused by other conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver or kidney disease. Aldactone is effective for treating water retention due to these causes. The medicine is also approved to treat a special kind of water retention called ascites. Ascites is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity and is usually the result of liver disease.
Hypokalemia is the medical term for low potassium levels in the blood. It can be caused by various conditions (such as hyperaldosteronism) or medications (including other diuretics). Signs of low potassium levels include:
- Muscle cramps
- Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
The easiest way to correct low potassium levels is by taking potassium. If you cannot take potassium (due to side effects or other problems) or if potassium is not working for you, Aldosterone can be used to increase potassium levels. Aldosterone is also approved to help prevent hypokalemia in people taking digoxin (Digitek®, Lanoxin®), since hypokalemia can be especially dangerous in these people.