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Obesity is a globally occurring problem that can lead to serious morbidity and sometimes, even mortality.  However, it is almost equally detrimental to the results of unhealthy rapid weight loss regimen. According to Emedicine, there are dangerous and potentially lethal consequences associated with improper weight loss.

Sudden Cardiac Death

Rapid weight loss has been implicated as a cause of sudden cardiac death in patients with no previous history of heart diseases and other cardiovascular problems.  Fast degradation of fats from fatty tissues in rapid weight loss can cause increase levels of free fatty acids in the blood vessels.  In turn, these free fatty acids can accumulate within the cardiac blood vessel walls causing thrombus or fatty plaque formation which can obstruct the free flow of oxygen-carrying blood delivered into the heart muscles causing decreased oxygen supply to the affected part of the heart.  And as a consequence, sudden cardiac arrhythmia or heart rate irregularity occurs leading to sudden cardiac death.


Hypokalemia, which is defined as decreased levels of potassium in the body, can result from rapid weight loss regimens.  This is particularly true in patients who undergo semi-fasting, who use laxatives and those who induce vomiting to decrease their body weight. Transient diuresis or temporary increased urine output in people having rapid weight reduction can also contribute to potassium losses through the urine.  Hypokalemia can result into muscle weakness, cramping, decreased blood pressure and decreased motility of the intestines.  However, the most feared consequences of severe hypokalemia are paralysis, respiratory failure and heart rate irregularities that may result into sudden cardiac arrest.

Fatty liver

The development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can be defined as the excess accumulation of fats within the liver, is strongly associated with obesity.  However, is can also be a direct consequence of rapid weight loss. Patients undergoing rapid weight reduction usually develop hyperlipidemia or increased fatty acids in the blood stream due to increased mobilization of fats from fatty tissues.  And when these fatty acids deposit within the liver, the end result will be non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is not as benign as it was previously thought.  Recent studies point out that this liver problem can be a prerequisite for the development of liver cirrhosis, a chronic and potentially fatal liver problem.

Rapid weight loss can be dangerous and potential lethal.  Don’t get easily brainwashed with those very convincing ads that boast about fast weight reduction. The health-expert-recommended gradual weight reduction through a healthy diet and regular exercise is still the mainstay to combat obesity and the numerous consequences it can bring.

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