Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
June 22, 2021
Beta-blockers are drugs used by those with irregular heartbeats to keep their heartbeat optimal and reduce blood pressure. If you’re looking to start taking beta-blockers, keep reading.
In this article, we’ll delve into the nature of beta-blockers, what they do, their side effects, and other ways these drugs can be applied.
Beta-blocker drugs are technically referred to as beta-adrenergic blocking agents. They work by inhibiting the production and effects of existing epinephrine hormones. Epinephrine hormones are better known as adrenaline. Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster, which can lead to higher levels of blood pressure.
The goal of beta-blockers is to decrease the level of blood pressure in the body by slowing the heartbeat. This can also cause a calming effect, as we will discuss later in the article.
There is a wide variety of applications for beta-blockers. The most common of them is maintaining blood pressure levels and correcting heart arrhythmias that make the heartbeat too rapidly.
Beta-blockers are used for the following conditions to either prevent, treat, or improve:
Aside from reducing blood pressure, beta-blockers can also correct certain types of heart arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a heart condition that causes the heart to beat in an irregular rhythm.
Some arrhythmias cause the heart to beat too slow, too fast, or skip beats. If the patient has an arrhythmia that causes their heart to beat too quickly, beta-blockers will correct that problem by slowing the heartbeat.
If the heart beats too slowly, the patient should avoid beta-blockers, as they will cause their heart to beat too slow. This will only cause further problems that will make any blood pressure reduction or mood regulation not worth the risk. For this reason, you should consult with your doctor before starting a course of beta-blocker medication.
There are a host of common side effects beta-blockers users report. If you’re experiencing any of these side effects, know that these are entirely normal and not a cause for alarm.
These are the most common side effects of beta-blockers:
These are common side effects that virtually every beta-blocker user has experienced in varying degrees of intensity. The positive aspect of this is that these side effects tend to disappear after a few weeks of consistent usage.
While there are many mild side effects of beta-blockers, there is a list of rare but dangerous side effects that imply your body is having an adverse reaction to the medication.
If you experience any of the following symptoms while using beta-blockers, stop taking the medication and contact your doctor immediately:
As long as you don’t experience these rare side effects while taking beta-blockers, you will be safe.
There are many beta-blockers available on the market, but they differ from each other significantly. Make sure to always talk to a doctor in depth before starting a new medication.
Examples of commonly prescribed beta-blockers include:
The secondary function of beta-blockers is a mood regulator. Some anxiety patients could benefit greatly by reducing the adrenaline level in their system, which causes panic attacks and social anxiety.
While beta-blockers can mitigate certain types of anxiety, it’s also important to be aware of the dangers of using blood pressure medication as a mood stabilizer.
If you’re taking other anxiety medications, there is a possibility that beta-blockers can have harmful interactions with those medications. Additionally, you have to consider the situation with your heart and blood pressure.
If you don’t have any problems with your heart rhythm or blood pressure, taking a drug that manipulates those aspects of your physiology is probably not a good idea.
You could inadvertently cause a problem in your cardiovascular system by taking beta-blockers when you don’t need them. This is especially important to note for people with diabetes, as outlined by Mayo Clinic:
“In people who have diabetes, beta-blockers may block signs of low blood sugar, such as rapid heartbeat. Beta-blockers can also potentially increase blood sugar, worsening hyperglycemia symptoms in patients with diabetes. It’s important to check your blood sugar regularly if you have diabetes and you’re taking a beta-blocker.”
While beta-blockers can work for anxiety, it’s not recommended to take them solely for that purpose. If you happen to suffer from anxiety and high blood pressure or heart rhythm issues, then beta-blockers could be a valid treatment option. Always follow your doctor’s orders regarding your particular situation.
The emergence of telehealth has created a convenient and easy avenue to receive online care from top-quality doctors. Our affiliated site PlushCare is one that Forbes recently named as a top startup of 2021.
Doctors at PlushCare can work with you to diagnose, treat, and even medicate your heart condition. Beta-blockers are a standard prescription written by PlushCare doctors.
Click here to make an appointment with a PlushCare doctor.
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