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Abuse of diuretics How do they harm your health?

The abuse of diuretics is a serious problem for health. Problem that arises when one self-medicates and takes them on their own, abusing them and without taking into account the doses, their adverse effects or contraindications, causing medium or long-term health problems, especially when they are used abusively with the goal of losing weight.

What are diuretics?

Diuretics are medicines or nutritional supplements based on plants that serve to eliminate water retention or excess water in our body . Diuretics in no case lose volume or burn fat.

Its purpose is to treat different conditions such as hypertension, glaucoma or edema. They help to eliminate salt and water from our body mainly through urine. They act by causing the kidneys to release more sodium (salt) in the urine. Next, the sodium transports the water to the blood, thus decreasing the amount of water that flows through the blood vessels and thereby reducing the pressure on its walls.

Different types of diuretics

There are different types of diuretics. Many can be found in the form of medicine, others in the form of nutritional supplement and others in the form of plants to infuse.

The problem with diuretic abuse arises precisely when you opt for diuretic medications in order to lose weight. There are many brands of diuretics and their consumption depends on the dosage established by each manufacturer.

The three most common types are thiazides, loop and potassium preservatives:

  • Thiazides: Chlorotiazide, chlorthalidone, indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide and metolazone.
  • Loop diuretics: bumentanide, furosemide and torasemide.
  • Potassium-sparing drugs: amiloride, spironolactone and triamterene.

 

Keep in mind that many diuretic drugs combine several drugs of those described above.

 

 

The most used diuretics. Diuretic medications

Regarding the three main types of diuretics, each type affects a different area of ​​the kidneys so they can be given different uses but they can also have different adverse effects.

The most used diuretics are:

  • Chlorotiazide
  • Chlorthalidone
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Indapamide
  • Metazolana
  • Brumetanide
  • Ethacrynic acid
  • Furosemide
  • Torasemide
  • Almiloride
  • Eplerenone
  • Spironolactone
  • Triamterene

 

The self-medication with this type of drugs is potentially dangerous especially in people prone to suffer from anemia, diabetics or in case of high blood pressure. A misuse of diuretics will cause long-term liver problems or kidney failure, leading to dehydration and even cerebral edema.

 

The purpose of diuretics

The purpose of diuretics is not to lose weight. Diuretics are not fat burners, rather their purpose is to treat different conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Edema (swelling of tissues)
  • Heart failure
  • Liver failure
  • Some kidney disorders (kidney stones)

 

Diuretics work very well when it comes to eliminating toxins from the body, but they are not very useful for weight loss, since what they do is eliminate liquids but never fats. Many people, mostly women, fall into the trap of thinking that thanks to diuretics are going to lose weight quickly and this is not the case, what is achieved with this dangerous self-medication is to earn more than one problem of serious long-term health.

Diuretics have been fashionable thanks to this erroneous belief. In fact, if we consume them we will observe with the scale that we have effectively lost weight but not by burning fat, but by eliminating more liquids than normal from our body.

The loss of liquids that occurs with the consumption of diuretics does not cause us to lose kilos , in fact it seems that we are losing weight because we are losing liquids. Liquids, which we then ingest again, a little absurd if we think about it well.

As a depurative to eliminate toxins can serve us, as long as it is used responsibly, but they are not the best alternative for weight loss and much less, a safe alternative if we take into account the risks involved.

 

 

The consequences of diuretic abuse

If there is no medical indication to support the use of diuretics to lose weight should not be taken and less, if responsible consumption is not made since the consequences of abuse of these drugs can be harmful.

The main consequences of diuretic abuse are:

  • Hypotension
  • Malnutrition
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Kidney stones
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Increase in uric acid
  • Weakness, calamity and lack of reflexes
  • Decreased levels of potassium and uric acid
  • Alterations in balance
  • Fatigue, drowsiness and dizziness
  • Allergic reactions or hypersensitivity
  • Cefáleas
  • Increase in cholesterol levels
  • They raise the risk of erectile dysfunction

Natural Diuretics

Natural diuretics , unlike diuretic medications, are obtained from plants and are used to eliminate toxins and treat fluid retention in a natural way.

There are diuretic foods and medicinal plants that help to eliminate the excesses of water of the organism and at the same time, they contribute to control the high pressure and to eliminate toxins. These plants and foods are considered detoxifying foods and are recommended in slimming diets or in detox diets.

The main diuretic foods are:

  • Watercress
  • Celery
  • Leek
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Beet
  • Peppers
  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Lemon
  • Kiwi
  • Coconut water

 

On the other hand, the main diuretic medicinal plants are:

  • Dandelion
  • Horse tail
  • Black tea
  • Green Tea
  • Jamaica flower
  • Parsley
  • Juniper
  • Hawthorn
  • Nettle

 

However, as we have said on numerous occasions, medicinal plants also have their adverse effects if they are abused or misused. Therefore, it is recommended not to abuse them and keep track of blood pressure.

 

Adverse effects of natural diuretics

In the case of natural diuretics, adverse effects may occur when the recommended doses are exceeded or when they are taken together with medications.

The main adverse effects are:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Confusion
  • Hypokalemia (lack of potassium)
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Problems with blood pressure
  • Dehydration

 

 

Contraindications and advice when consuming natural diuretics

If the proper doses are not respected or consumed excessively, natural diuretics, whether in the form of infusion or food supplements, can cause adverse effects such as:

  • Loss of electrolytes
  • Dehydration
  • Decompensation of blood pressure
  • Hypotension

.

Therefore, if you consume diuretic plants or diuretic supplements you should take into account:

  • Avoid alcoholic beverages as it enhances dehydration can produce a decompensation of blood pressure, malaise, dizziness and kidney problems.
  • Try to consume little salt because excess salt in the diet has the opposite effect to diuretics by increasing blood pressure, hindering the elimination of fluids and also harms the kidneys. You can replace the salt with aromatic plants.
  • Eat foods rich in potassium. The more we urinate, the more potassium we need, so we should include foods such as bananas, avocados, legumes, nuts and aromatic hints in the diet.
  • Staying hydrated . It is not about drinking more than drinking normally, between 1.5l-2l a day. Drinking more will not make you lose weight but will contribute to demineralization and weaken the kidneys.
  • Never combine diuretic medications with food and diuretic plants . Many diuretic plants act in a very similar way to drugs, so their effects must be taken into account. 
  • Respect the recommended doseseither in infusions or food supplements.
  • Always consult your doctor if you suffer from any disease or if you are undergoing pharmacological treatment before resorting to any type of diuretic, whether drugs or natural.

 

Who should not use diuretics?

  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding.
  • People who follow a pharmacological treatment.
  • Those who are taking diuretic medications should not combine them with plants or diuretic supplements.
  • In case of renal, hepatic, cardiovascular or mental disease.

 

Reference:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/diuretics/art-20048129

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