6 Ways Losing Weight Can Actually Cause a Heart Attack

You would be hard-pressed to find a doctor or other medical professional that would not recommend a weight loss plan for someone who was overweight or obese because those conditions are a known threat to health and well-being. Just about everyone is aware of that, but how many people know that the weight loss method you choose could be as dangerous as ignoring your weight and the associated health hazards? As hard as it might be to hear, there is no “easy” way to lose weight that is both effective and safe. There are very good reasons that doctors promote weight loss methods such as healthy eating habits and regular exercise and that’s because they are the tried-and-tested methods that actually work and are unlikely to put your health at risk.

Diet plans and methods that promise fast and easy weight loss are the ones you need to be wary of and that’s primarily due to the fact that people have actually died as a result of trying diet plans that promise rapid weight loss. The following six weight loss methods should always be avoided because they can lead to serious problems, including heart attack. Making matters worse, these plans are also much less likely to work than a more traditional and safe weight loss plan.

1. Prescription weight-loss pills

It may seem perfectly safe to add doctor-prescribed pills to your weight loss plan but doing so could put you at risk for heart attack due to an underlying and undiagnosed medical condition. Diet pills accelerate metabolism and that necessarily increases heart rate, which could be dangerous to someone with a heart condition such as arrhythmia. Since people who are overweight are already at higher risk for heart attack, giving them pills that accelerate heart rhythm is probably not the best course of action, especially since there are so many alternative weight loss options available today.

2. Impatience

Does anyone who has ever started a diet hope that the weight comes off slowly? Probably not, and it’s understandable for people to want to see rapid results. That can become a serious problem when someone goes to extremes by cutting down too drastically on the amount that they eat. We all eat for at least one good reason, and that’s so we can continue to live. Without food, we would all die and that’s why starvation diets are dangerous.

All of our bodily functions rely on the nutrition we get from food and the heart is no exception. An improperly nourished heart is more likely to quit than one that receives all the required nutrients that a balanced diet provides. You do not want a shortcut diet turning into a shortcut to the grave.

3. The yo-yo diet

Committing yourself to losing weight should be a long-term strategy and not one where you gain and lose weight with the changing of the seasons. Like a yo-yo that travels up and down on a string, some people take the weight off and put it back on again repeatedly. That may be due to their inability or unwillingness to make the lifestyle changes that are required to lose weight and keep it off long term. The body often reacts badly to the constant changes that result from yo-yo dieting and that reaction can have serious consequences. A New England Journal of Medicine study concluded that yo-yo dieting increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and early death.

4. OTC diet pills

If you are inclined to believe the risks that accompany the use of prescription weight loss pills, you should have no trouble believing that OTC or over-the-counter diet pills present an even greater risk to your health. Dangerous diet pills have been in the news before due to the serious health problems they have caused, but the diet pill industry is still going strong and is no less dangerous than it ever was.

This is a largely unregulated industry, meaning that the products they promote have not been evaluated by medical experts who could actually determine if they are truly safe to use. These pills do often work when it comes to weight loss but can also come with nasty side effects, like heart valve damage and of course, heart attack.

5. Dehydration

You may think of something like dehydration as a relatively harmless condition that is easily remedied by drinking more water. That may be true for mild cases, but the type of serious dehydration that can result from working out excessively without drinking enough liquid or using pills for “water weight” loss can be deadly. Dehydration causes the heart to work harder simply because the lack of fluid lowers the available supply of blood it pumps throughout the body. As the heart works extra hard to make up for the deficit, it is more prone to failure, which is another way of saying you are at higher risk for heart attack.

6. Exercising to excess

When it comes to exercise, there are at least two varieties. There’s sensible exercising, the type that we know is healthy for us and can help promote weight loss and then there is the over-the-top type of exercise that can definitely help speed weight loss but could also have the unfortunate effect of speeding up your demise.


For some people there may be a fine line between safe, sensible exercise and exercise that could be considered excessive and dangerous, so checking with your doctor is probably the best way to decide what’s best. Medical studies have demonstrated that over-exercising can result in a strain on the heart that could trigger a heart attack.

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