Why should diuretics only be used if prescribed by a doctor?

Matthew L. Brengman, MD
Diuretics, or water pills, can have a very profound effect on the blood electrolytes, and the total blood volume in the body. These things are important for our daily activities. They can alter your thinking or your heart rhythm. They can also lead to light-headedness, which may cause subsequent falls and accidents. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Diuretics are generally only prescribed to people whose bodies aren’t able to regulate water and electrolyte balance anymore because of some disease. In this case, the water pill is helping to bring them back to normal.

Doctors usually work closely with individuals starting these medications to make sure the dose is just right and that the medication won’t interact with other drugs they may be taking.

A healthy person who takes diuretics is at serious risk for damaging side effects because they’re using the medication to do something abnormal to their body, which throws off their water and electrolyte balance.

For example, those taking diuretics for weight loss often don’t know how much to take and may take more than they should thinking the benefit will increase with a higher dose.

This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.