Its has become quite alarming that people are abusing all sorts of supplements and foods to lose weight. The last addition to this craze is the anti-hypertensive, lasix, a diuretic which is now being abused by primary school girls. They use this drug without a knowledge of its side effects. some taking as much as 200mg at a go. This abuse of a prescription drug is yet to be noticed by the authorities in Ghana.
When used as directed by an experienced healthcare provider, diuretics can be beneficial in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including hypertension (high blood pressure), glaucoma, and edema (the abnormal accumulation of subcutaneous fluids). The drugs have also been prescribed to patients who are suffering from diabetes and osteoporosis, or who are at heightened risk of experiencing congestive heart failure.
According to information on the Mayo Clinic’s website, diuretics (also sometimes referred to as “water pills”) work by causing the kidneys to excrete higher amounts of sodium in urine. “The sodium, in turn, takes water with it from your blood,” the site reports. “That decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, which reduces pressure on the walls of your arteries.”
Side effects of diuretic use can include increased urination, dehydration, potassium or sodium imbalances, weakness, and impotence.
Unfortunately, because of diuretics’ effects on urination and hydration, some individuals who hope to lose large amounts of weight in a short period of time, or who are struggling with a purge-related eating disorder choose to abuse the drugs.
In cases of extreme weight loss, diuretics can give the illusion of success by causing the body to rid itself of excess water. In reality, though, the dieter will either quickly regain the weight once he rehydrates, or will risk damaging his kidneys, liver, and heart by continuing to use the drugs. (When not properly monitored by a healthcare professional, people who use diuretics risk depleting themselves of vital fluids and electrolytes, which can lead to organ damage.)
Individuals with eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder may abuse diuretics as a way to purge themselves after eating. As is the case with self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, repeatedly using diuretics for their purgative effects can have a negative impact on one’s health, including organ damage , organ failure (eg Kidneys, liver) and even death.
Warning Signs & Treatment Options
Diuretic medications come in both prescription and over-the-counter forms. Though the prescription versions are more potent, significant damage can result from misuse of the OTC ones – which anyone (even minors) can purchase from their local drugstore or via an online pharmacy.
In addition to the physical damage that the abuse of these medications can cause, their use may also signal the presence of an emotional disorder or other mental health condition. Parents who become aware that their child is using diuretics or water pills without a medically appropriate reason should evaluate whether their teen might be afflicted with an eating disorder, or be suffering from an unhealthy body image.
Though they are most often found in teenage girls and young women, eating disorders and body image problems can afflict individuals of both genders and almost every age. Depending on the nature and severity of the condition, recovery options may involve outpatient therapy, hospitalization, or residential treatment in a therapeutic boarding school or similar program.