Using Diuretics For Weight Loss
A Short-Term Fix
As with any type of substance abuse, the use of diuretics as a means of weight loss can end up being more of a problem than a help. Often used for quick weight loss, especially if there is a special event someone wants to attend and losing a little weight would enhance appearance, diuretics can be effective in the very short term. Water loss, which is what diuretics instigate, is very temporary. Any weight lost through water loss is regained as soon as food or drink is ingested.
The Real Purpose Of Diuretics
Diuretics are designed to cause the body to increase urine production. They help the kidneys up their production of urine and then flush it out of the body. Diuretics are often used medicinally to address edema (excessive storage of fluids) caused by heart, kidney or liver disease. They reduce water retention in the tissues of the body and can be helpful for people with diseases that cause fluid retention in their bodies.
What Happens When They Are Abused
When diuretics are abused, they can create an electrolyte imbalance in the body caused by dehydration. Potassium deficiencies are common with overuse of diuretics. Consider the following: the brain is comprised of 70 percent water, and blood is 83 percent water. The lungs are made up of 90 percent water. When water is depleted in the body, the function of these and other organs can be negatively affected. Fatigue, nausea, cramping and muscle weakness along with an irregular heartbeat, are all possible repercussions of diuretic abuse.
The Different Types Of Diuretics
There are three kinds of medical diuretics, each interacting with the kidneys in a different fashion. Thiazides, loop diuretics, and potassium-sparing diuretics, all have specific uses, precautions, and side effects. Some of the side effects of diuretics include hyponatremia, which is insufficient or low sodium in the blood, increases in blood sugar and cholesterol, rashes and gout, increase or decrease in potassium levels, menstrual irregularities, and men may suffer with impotence or breast enlargement.
If a diuretic is needed, there are natural diuretics which may not have the same negative effects as drugs. Cranberries, celery, parsley, asparagus, artichokes, melon, watercress, apple cider vinegar, and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, are all types of natural diuretics. In order to prevent dehydration if on a diuretic type of diet, it is important to consume adequate water. The reduction of salt and carbohydrates needs to be balanced with water intake.
Diuretics And Eating Disorders
It is not uncommon to find people with eating disorders using diuretics to flush excess water from their bodies, thereby reducing their weight even more. When diuretics are used to reduce water retention, they can, in the long term, cause renal damage (damage to the kidneys) and skew the electrolyte balance in the body.