Diet pills are to die for

Most people would love to swallow a pill and have their fat melt away. Though they know that slimming pills can have horrible long-term effects, they still take them - and hope for the best.

Most people would love to swallow a pill and have their fat melt away. Though they know that slimming pills can have horrible long-term effects, they still take them - and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, diet pills are easily accessible to everyone, including minors.

Most supermarkets, pharmacies and health stores carry these highly addictive substances.

Diet-pill overdose is common among models, celebs and teenagers. Experts suggest that Playboy pinup Anna Nicole Smith had a history of massive weight swings that led to dubious diets and pill-taking.

The is speculation that this may have contributed to her death last week at the age of 39.

In the same queue of culprits stands Naomi Campbell.

Her alleged steady affair with diet pills has been linked to the erratic behaviour that has earned her the reputation as the worst employee and employer. Twice she has been taken to court by employees who accused her of assaulting them.

Dr Zinzi Mbuqe, of East London Hospital complex, said over-the-counter and prescription diet pills were possibly the most unhealthy and potentially dangerous ways to lose weight.

"All these pills are equally addictive. They are like a fix. Sometimes people start by taking a few diet pills and then, before they know it, they are addicted and depend on them and can't give them up.

"The only healthy way to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet and to exercise."

Mbuqe said that though diet pills can be great for helping people to lose weight they contain addictive substances such as ephedrine, caffeine, and phenylpropranolamine.

"All these substances act as stimulants to the central nervous system and can have potentially fatal side effects."

She warns that taking diet pills along with other medication can lessen the effects of the other medicine.

Studies over the years have shown that people who take diet pills are at higher risk of suffering from heart palpitations, tremors and insomnia.

Another study, published in TheAmerican Journal of Neurology, found that the rate of strokes among diet-pill users was higher than in non-users.

Most prescription diet pills suppress the appetite, which causes the user to ingest fewer calories.

Mbuqe said it might seems like the ultimate solution for losing weight, but as you reduce your calorie intake your metabolism slows down.

She warned that sometimes herbal products, referred to as "natural" weight-loss products, can be just as dangerous as diet pills.

Complications from the use of diet pills include, but are not limited to:

l Headaches

l Vomiting

l Shallow breathing

l Blurred vision

l Hallucinations

l Convulsions and seizures

l Fatigue

l Chest pains

l Potential for dependence

l Cardiac arrest

l Cardiac arrhythmia

l Congestive heart failure

l Heart palpitations

l Stroke

l Headaches

l High blood pressure

l Dizziness

l Diarrhoea

l Vomiting

l Anxiety

l Irritability

l Insomnia

l Loss of libido

l Blurred vision

l Dry mouth

l Paranoia

l Menstrual irregularities.

- www.addiction.lovetoknow.com

Symptoms of diet-pill overdose include:

Dizziness, jitteriness, insomnia and high blood pressure.

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