How does hydrochlorothiazide treat high blood pressure?

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Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) is a diuretic that works in the kidneys to remove salt from the body. By removing excess salt from the body, the body also excretes excess water. Too much salt or fluid in the body causes the heart to have to work harder to pump blood through the arteries. The higher your blood pressure, the higher the risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and other serious health conditions.