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Water pills, or diuretics, are used in the treatment of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease and congestive heart failure but are not prescribed or advised for weight loss. The connection between water pills and weight loss is a temporary one. The weight loss effect after taking a water pill is due to water loss and not fat loss and it is only the latter which results in long term weight loss. Using diuretics can cause dehydration, muscle cramps, nausea, loss of appetite and decreased potassium levels, and their use for a reason other than that prescribed by a doctor is considered dangerous.
Rapid weight loss is the result of taking water pills, but the weight is completely water based. Once the pill intake is stopped, the body regains the water lost. Therefore, this type of weight loss is only effective for the short-term. Long-term use of water pills is not advised as this would cause many adverse conditions such as low blood pressure or an electrolyte imbalance that may result in chronic health problems.
Water pills are taken in order to help the kidneys remove excess water from the bloodstream and tissues, which is then excreted via the urine. They affect the way the kidneys filter the blood as well as filter salt from the urine. When there is no pre-existing medical condition, the result of taking water pills for weight loss may be the creation of sodium and potassium deficiencies, depending on the diuretic used.
Sodium and potassium are electrolytes and are vital for the heart, kidney and liver to function properly. Any imbalance could lead to heart failure and sudden death. Dehydration from the loss of vital fluids can cause kidney damage. Add to this the fact that within a few days of taking diuretics, the body reacts to the water loss by retaining more water.
The connection between water pills and weight loss is a tenuous one at best. After taking a pill, there is some weight loss that is instant but temporary. The human body is made of about 60% water. The brain, blood, muscles and every cell in the body needs water to function efficiently. Any decrease sends out alarm bells, and the body does all it can to restore the levels it needs.