Are Diuretics Safe?

The proper use of diuretics is in connection with a condition in which the body retains excessive amounts of fluid, known as edema.
Even a natural diuretic like juniper can be unsafe if too much is taken.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Diuretics are compounds that are used to rid the body of excess amounts of water. Along with natural diuretics such as juniper berries or goldenseal, there are a number of over-the-counter water pills and even prescription drugs that can aid in expelling excess water. While diuretics of any kind are safe when used responsibly, there are several dangers involved with unsupervised and excessive use.

The proper use of diuretics is in connection with edema, a condition in which the body is retaining an unhealthy amount of fluid. Most products with some sort of diuretic qualities will stimulate the process of urination. By encouraging the kidneys to process the fluid and eliminate it as urine, the swelling and bloated feelings that accompany edema are alleviated within a short period of time. Once the excess fluid is expelled, the use of diuretic substances is discontinued.

Unfortunately, many people choose to abuse diuretics. By taking the products for too long and in too frequent doses, there is a strong chance that the body will no longer respond to natural stimuli. When this happens, the kidneys no longer function automatically and require the medication in order to get the message to process fluid. The only solution is to wean off the diuretics and begin to allow the body’s natural processes to reassert themselves and restore a healthy and natural cycle of water elimination.

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Perhaps one of the more dangerous uses of diuretics is connected with diet and weight loss. All too often, people who want to lose a small amount of weight will use water pills to quickly expel what they consider to be excess liquid stored in the body. The result is a body that is left without proper levels of moisture within the body, creating the perfect environment for all the problems that come with dehydration. If a proper level of fluid in the body is not restored, there is a good chance that the function of one or more organs will be compromised. In addition to the kidneys, the heart and respiratory system can be negatively impacted. Even the brain is likely to suffer.

The bottom line is that diuretics, like many medications, are only intended for use under the care of a qualified physician. When used in exactly the manner instructed, and only for the time frame authorized, diuretics can be beneficial to health. However, choosing to rely on water pills as a diet aid or just to promote regular elimination of fluids is a very dangerous approach and should be avoided at all costs.

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Discuss this Article

popcorn
Post 3

If you are taking a prescription diuretic, how can you tell if it is working too well? I am worried about becoming dehydrated, even though I am carrying too much water now.

letshearit
Post 2

@anon71438 - I believe that you should recommend that she follow her doctor's instructions. While drinking two liters of water a day is noted as general health knowledge, we also absorb moisture from the foods we eat. If she is on prescription diuretics she is already retaining more water than she needs to carry to be healthy, which is why the doctor is probably suggesting she intakes less than the commonly recommended amount.

There is actually a condition know as overhydration which happens when the body has difficulty moving water through the system.

I think it is important to respect the doctor's advice, as he would have the most detailed knowledge of her condition and medicines she is taking.

If you have additional concerns, perhaps you can give her some questions to ask her doctor for more information.

anon71438
Post 1

I have a client who is on diuretics for a heart condition. She said her doctor told not to drink too much water, which is worrying, because as a wellness coach I wanted to help her to lose weight. when I said she should drink two litres of water a day, she said she was not allowed. I do know from nursing that one should also drink plenty. advice please.

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