Side Effects And Risks Of Beta
Side effects of these medications can vary. Many people will experience:
If you know that an overdose has occurred, call your doctor or local poison control center. The U.S. National Poison Control Center phone number is 800-222-1222.
Some of the older beta-blockers such as atenolol and metoprolol have been reported to cause an average weight gain of 2.6 pounds, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fluid retention and accompanying weight gain can be signs that you have heart failure or that your heart failure is getting worse. Be sure to let your doctor know if you gain more than 2 to 3 pounds within a day, gain more than 5 pounds within a week, or your symptoms worsen.
You also may notice some changes in the way your heart works during day-to-day life. For example, beta-blockers prevent spikes in heart rate. You may notice that your heart rate doesnt climb as high as it normally would during exercise.
Speak with your doctor if youre concerned about your workouts while taking this medication. They may recommend a stress test to determine your target heart rate during cardio. Stress tests can also help your doctor determine how hard you feel youre working during a workout. This is known as the rate of perceived exertion.
Who Can Take Beta Blockers
Beta blockers are not suitable for everyone. To make sure they are safe for you, tell your doctor before starting a beta blocker if you have:
- had an allergic reaction to a beta blocker or any other medicine in the past
- low blood pressure or a slow heart rate
- serious blood circulation problems in your limbs
- metabolic acidosis when there’s too much acid in your blood
- lung disease or asthma
Tell your doctor if you’re trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or breastfeeding.
It’s important not to stop taking beta blockers without seeking your doctor’s advice. In some cases suddenly stopping the medicine may make your health condition worse.
Adjusting Your Exercise Goals
Adjusting your exercise goals based on this change in heart rate is fairly straightforward. If youve had an exercise stress test while on beta blockers, the results will provide hard numbers describing your actual exercise capacity. These numbers should be your guide when planning your exercise goals.
If you havent had a stress test, you can still approximate your targets using either your resting heart rate or perceived activity as a guide.
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Why Beta Blockers Are More Important Over Alpha Blockers
Just above, we have seen that sympathetic activation should be controlled in few of the cardiovascular diseases to prevent further deterioration. But which receptors should be blocked whether alpha or beta receptors?
Right, we will come to the point. Sympathetic discharge acts both on alpha and beta receptors but activation of alpha receptors leads to vasoconstriction increasing blood pressure. So when alpha blockers are used they decrease only blood pressure but do not block all cardiac actions of catechol amines. Moreover, alpha blockers are direct vasodilators that produce postural hypotension and reflex tachycardia hence preferred only in treatment of resistant hypertension.
On the other hand, beta blockers inhibit the action of catecholamines mainly on the heart thereby inhibit all cardiac events associated.
The No 1 Reason People Stop Taking Beta
The top reason patients stop using beta-blockers is admission to the hospital for various conditions, not just heart failure, Dr. Tang says. However, most people should not stop, even if they are hospitalized, unless the doctors decided that it is more harm than good.
Research shows that patients fare better when they continue taking beta-blockers while in the hospital, even with acute heart failure.
An inability to tolerate beta-blockers indicates a worsening heart condition, says Dr. Tang. Other testing may be necessary to determine if the heart is too weak for beta-blockers.
This may even apply for patients whose heart function has recovered to the normal range. Recent clinical studies have shown that, even in those with full recovery of their heart structure and function, stopping drugs like beta-blockers can reverse the recovery course and can be detrimental, he adds.
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What Are Beta Blockers Used For
Lets connect the dots.
We know how beta blockers work we know what you are taking it for .
Now were going to get into the specifics of why a beta blocker may help for different conditions, based on the way they work.
High blood pressure
We know that beta blockers weaken the pumping and slow the rate of the heartbeats and in doing so they This means less blood is being pushed through our blood vessels in a time period, and less blood in our circulation puts less pressure on the blood vessels that is, the blood pressure decreases.
Angina symptoms are due to increased pressure on the heart as the blood tries to forge its path through blocked arteries. A beta-blocker decreases the amount of blood the heart can pump by weakening the pumping and slowing the heart rate, which means that less blood needs to make its way through the arteries in a certain amount of time. As a result, the blood pressure decreases and chest pain can be relieved.
Beta blockers can be used for arrhythmia because they affect the rate of the heart beating. Rather than trying to make the heart jump back into a regular rhythm, the slowing effect of beta blockers can help stop the heart from beating too fast, which is particularly useful if one often has a racing heart.
This isnt a complete list of conditions can be used for, only some of the most common.
How To Stay In Shape While Taking Beta Blockers
People who take beta blockers can still exercise regularly and see the cardiovascular benefits of working out. Those who aim for a target heart rate should keep in mind that their new target heart rate may be different while on a beta blocker. Lewis says cardioselective beta blockers , which only block beta receptors in heart cells, may affect exercise less than the non-cardioselective kind .
Since beta blockers slow the heart rate to deceptively low levels, its important to avoid overexertion while exercising. Before starting a new workout program, talk to your healthcare provider first. Your physician can tell you what your target heart rate should be and create a custom exercise plan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some general exercise tips for people who havent been active in a while:
And if youre exercising to help keep your blood pressure in check, keep in mind that are only two strategies that work. Experts also suggest eating a low-sodium diet, limiting alcohol intake, lowering stress levels, and quitting smoking.
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What To Expect When Taking Beta Blockers
Again, here its about making sense of what we know.
Here are some of the unwanted effects you might experience when taking a beta blocker and why they happen. It all makes sense if you take a moment to put two and two together.
Low blood pressure
The aim of beta blockers is to lower blood pressure it makes sense that if we take too much the effect will be too good. It happens because the load of the heart becomes too light, with a slow heart rate and weak pump to an excessive extent. This isnt a bad thing exactly, we just need to get the dose right.
Slow heart rate :
This one is obvious when you think about how a beta blocker actually works. Beta-blockers lower blood pressure by slowing the heart rate down, therefore, its expected that we might notice a slower heart rate. Again, this isnt necessarily bad as we rely on this to lower the blood pressure but we need to be aware and watch how the heart rate changes .
Worsening of Asthma/breathing difficulty:
Remember at the beginning of this post when we were talking about beta-adrenergic receptors the place where beta blockers work their magic in the body? Well, I mentioned that the heart isnt the only place you can find them. They are also loitering around all over our body, but of particularly concern are the receptors in our airways.
This is not a complete list of side effects, but just a few of the most common.
Are Beta Blockers Right For Me
Beta blockers arent right for all patients. For example, people with asthma, diabetes, and other pre-existing conditions might not do well with beta blockers. Your age and race might also impact how well beta blockers will work for you. Go over your full health history with your doctor to see what they recommend for you.
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How Beta Blockers Lower Blood Pressure
Beta blockers work by blocking the effect of epinephrine on the tissuesspecifically, by blocking the beta receptors that bind epinephrine. Among other things, blocking the beta receptors slows the heart rate, reduces the force of contraction of the heart muscle, reduces the amount of oxygen the heart muscle needs to do its work, reduces stress on the vascular system, and tends to lower the blood pressure.
Brand names for beta-blockers include include Inderal , Lopressor ,Tenormin , and Sectral .
Can I Take A Beta Blocker If I Have Asthma Or Chronic Lung Disease
Beta blockers are generally not used in people with asthma. A beta blocker can cause asthma attacks.
Sometimes people with a chronic lung disease such as emphysema or bronchitis can take beta blockers. If you have lung disease and are taking a beta blocker, call your doctor right away if you start having breathing problems.
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What Is The Role Of Beta Receptors
We already discussed that three types of beta receptors are present in sympathetic system. Beta 1 receptors are mainly present on the heart and responsible for cardiac stimulation. They increase rate and force of contraction of the heart. So, as the force increases, the net volume of the blood pumped by the heart per each heart beat i.e. stroke volume increases.
As the rate of contraction increases, the net amount of the blood ejected per one minute i.e. cardiac output also increases.
So, finally beta receptors have a great effect in increasing cardiac output. This results in enhanced blood supply to all the systemic organs supplying more energy. Thats why under stressful conditions sympathetic system is activated to increase blood supply to vital organs.
Thats fine.Then whats wrong with beta receptors? Why should we use beta blockers?
Yes, there is no doubt that beta receptors improve the performance of vital organs by increasing blood supply but this is not without adverse effects. As cardiac output increases, cardiac work also increases requiring more oxygen to heart. So, cardiac oxygen consumption increases and as the condition persists for longer time cardiac efficiency decreases.
In summary, beta receptors increase the cardiac output enhancing the performance of vital organs but when they are activated persistently they decrease cardiac efficiency finally leading to cardiac failure.
When We Need Beta Blockers
Lets have more clarification. Suppose, a person is under an exercise or stressful conditions, for example, he/she is on running. Now the person requires more energy to run, so, sympathetic system is activated to supply more energy to skeletal muscle. So, in that person heart rate increases, force of contraction and cardiac output increases. This is a temporary condition and whenever the running is completed, sympathetic system is slowly deactivated bringing back to the normal levels. Now heart rate and cardiac output all are normal. This is the homeostasis that is maintained by parasympathetic system working along with sympathetic system.
Now lets see a pathological condition. Suppose a patient was attacked by angina. The patient got severe pain in the heart which stimulates sympathetic system. This enhanced sympathetic discharge increases cardiac oxygen consumption further deteriorating the angina condition. So in this patient, we should use beta blockers in order to prevent sympathetic activation and its deleterious effects aggravating the disorder.
Beta receptor activation is sometimes essential but when it is persistent it may be pathological.
Cardiovascular disorders like hypertension, angina, and arrhythmias are associated with persistent increase in sympathetic system requiring the use of beta blockers.
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Path To Improved Health
You should take beta blockers exactly as your doctor tells you. Beta blockers often are taken 1 to 2 times a day. Try to take the medicine at the same time each day. Do not stop taking beta blockers without talking to your doctor first. If you missed a dose and realize it a few hours later, take the medicine right away. If it has been more than 4 to 6 hours, do not take the dose you missed. Instead, wait to take the next scheduled dose. Never take a double dose to catch up.
People who have certain health conditions need to be careful taking beta blockers. If you have diabetes, the medicine can hide warning signs of low blood sugar. For example, your heart rate may not increase normally in response to a low blood sugar level. You will need to check your blood sugar levels carefully when taking a beta blocker. Talk to your doctor if you often have low blood sugar. He or she may want to change the dosage of your diabetes medicine.
Beta blockers can be a problem for people who have asthma. They can cause asthma attacks. Work with your doctor to monitor your asthma and prevent attacks.
People who have a chronic lung disease, such as bronchitis, emphysema, or both diseases together, known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , can take beta blockers. However, you should call your doctor right away if you start having breathing problems.
Heart And Blood Vessel Conditions
Because of their effect on the heart cells, beta-blockers may be used to:
Dr Sarah Jarvis, 7th May 2021
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has updated its guidance on the management of atrial fibrillation . Beta-blockers are sometimes used to control your heart rate if it is very fast as a result of AF and this is causing you symptoms.
NICE recommends that if this is the case, you should usually be offered either a standard beta-blocker or a calcium-channel blocker that stops your heart going too fast. You may also be offered treatment with a beta-blocker to reduce your risk of AF if you are having heart surgery.
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What Beta Blockers Do
Tiny proteins called beta receptors sit on the outer surface of many cells. There are three main types. Beta-1 receptors are found almost exclusively in heart cells. Beta-2 receptors reside mostly in lung and blood vessel cells, though heart cells also have some. Beta-3 receptors are located on fat cells.
The job of beta receptors is to latch onto chemical messengers released by the nervous system. In response to these messengers, the heart beats faster, blood vessels constrict, the airways relax, and the kidneys increase production of a protein that boosts blood pressure.
Beta blockers subvert these processes by settling onto beta receptors and preventing the chemical messengers from binding to their receptors. That slows the heart, improves the conduction of electrical signals in the heart, relaxes blood vessels, and lowers blood pressure.
Beta Blockers Reduce Stress
Taking beta blockers medications that reduce blood pressure and treat many heart conditions can blunt the negative effects of stress and anger on people with a history of atrial fibrillation, or irregular heart rhythm, said Yale researchers. This strategy could potentially improve quality of life for many of the two million Americans with the condition, according to a new study.
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is an irregular and rapid heart rate that increases risk of stroke, heart failure, and other complications. There is no cure for AFib, and while medications and procedures can often help, they are not always successful.
In a prior study, professor of internal medicine Rachel Lampert, M.D. and her colleagues had found that anger and stress were linked to episodes of AFib in individuals with a history of the condition. For the new study, the research team investigated whether beta blockers could minimize the impact of negative emotions on heart rhythm.
The researchers had patients with a history of AFib use an electronic diary to record their emotions preceding an episode. The patients also used handheld monitors to record their heart rhythm. Additionally, the research team tracked participants heart rhythms with wearable cardiac monitoring devices. Over a one-year period, patients taking beta blockers were compared to patients not taking the medication.
The study was published in HeartRhythm. It was supported by the National Institutes of Health .
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Which Beta Blockers Can Be Used For Heart Failure
Beta blockers are often given to patients experiencing a heart attack with the goal being to prevent a second heart attack from happening.
The American College of Cardiology specifically recommends the following beta blockers, which are FDA approved for heart failure:
- Toprol XL
When using these beta blockers for heart failure treatment, they prevent the heart from being overstimulated and pumping too often, explainsJason Reed, Pharm.D.
Most beta blockers also decrease how hard the heart muscle pumps, Dr. Reed explains. But these beta blockers do not do that, which is why they are able to treat the disease without making symptoms worse.
Interms of differencesbetween the beta blockers used for heart failure, he says, carvedilol blocks beta-1 beta-2 receptors in the heart, as well as alpha-1 receptors in the blood vessels. Metoprolol and bisoprolol primarily block beta-1 receptors in the heart. Although these beta blockers have some differences, they are effective at protecting the heart and reducing the risk of problems from heart failure.
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