What are the risks of misusing diuretics?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Diuretics should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor to you for a specific reason. Your body normally works hard to make sure there’s enough water to keep your organs functioning. This also includes making sure your body has the right balance of electrolytes in your blood. Diuretics mess with both of these things. They force your body to lose more water than usual and also push out vital electrolytes with that water. If too much water and too many electrolytes are lost, organs can start to malfunction. This shows up initially as cramps, fatigue, dizziness and weakness, vomiting and swelling. In severe cases, the heart can beat irregularly and even stop. People may also experience seizures and deadly organ failure.

In addition, diuretics can interact with other medications you might be taking and make them more or less effective. In some cases they can have a serious and potentially deadly interaction that could put you in the hospital or kill you.

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