Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there any health risks if you lose a lot of weight suddenly?"
I want to do something about my extra weight so I am going on a crash diet and exercising a lot. Is there any health risk if I end up losing a lot of weight all at once? Is it bad for your heart or anything like that?
First of all, congratulation on deciding to go on a diet and increase your exercise! Keeping a healthy weight and engaging in regular, daily aerobic exercise are two of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy and to prevent chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease down the road! Generally speaking, an effective dieting and exercise plan should aim for losing no more than a couple of pounds per week in most people. Losing weight more rapidly than that does, sometimes, carry health risks. For example, rapid weight loss can lead to gall bladder disease. Furthermore, crash or fad diets often can produce electrolyte and other blood chemistry abnormalities which can be dangerous. They can also lead to bad headaches, fatigue, and irritability, all of which increase the chances that you will not be able to sustain your diet or exercise plan. I would recommend that you go to see your primary care doctor about this issue. They can give you some basic guidance on the parameters for a safe and effective exercise and weight loss plan. They can also connect you to a nutritionist, who can provide additional counseling on what your diet plan should look like.
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