Former model warns against taking pills to lose weight

Vivian Fried in need of kidney transplant, on dialysis

By Kristi Krueger - Anchor/Health Reporter

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - South Florida is home to some of the most tanned and toned bodies in America, but for some, those six-pack abs come at a price.

Vivian Fried knows that all too well.

The 51-year-old former model took pills to lose weight  that have left her on dialysis and waiting for a kidney transplant after her's shut down three years ago.

"I wanted to be the perfect daughter, the perfect wife, the perfect friend," Fried said. "I always wanted to look good. Looks were the most important thing in my life."

Fried's obsession with looking good took a dangerous turn when she began abusing diuretics, or water pills, to lose weight.

She took hydrocholorothiazide, which is commonly prescribed to treat heart failure and hypertension. Some doctors , however, prescribe it to ease symptoms of postmenstrual syndrome, or PMS, which Fried said made it easy to get and misuse.

"I  had three or four diuretics in my purse so I would take the Diet Coke and then the diuretics because I wanted to feel skinny, not bloated," Fried said.

She didn't know the pills were slowly killing her kidneys.

These days, Fried gets dialysis six days a week for three to four hours a day.

Meanwhile, Jim Fried isn't a candidate to donate one of his own kidneys to his wife, so he spends his time searching for a donor.

He spends hours filling out paperwork for transplant waiting lists, and spends time on social media trying to get the word out about living donors.

"I'm fully consumed," Jim Fried said. "Even when we are sleeping, I'm listening to the trouble Vivian is having breathing, and knowing I've got to get her a new kidney."

As she waits for a new kidney, Vivian Fried said she wants to be a voice for those who may be harming themselves in an effort to be thin, and wants to warn them about the potential dangers of diuretics.

"Before I knew it, I was into diuretics and laxatives," she said. "I self-inflicted all this pain on myself without knowing where I was going to end up. If I knew I'd be on dialysis six days a week, I would never have done this." 

Click here for more information on the Living Donor Program at the Miami Transplant Institute. 

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