Beta Blockers 101

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

If you have cardiovascular problems, you may already be familiar with beta blockers, including Propranolol Hydrochloride, Timolol, Metoprolol, Atenolol, and Nadolol.

Beta blockers lower blood pressure levels, relieve angina, and help prevent damage to the heart when oxygen flow is reduced. In addition, taking beta blockers after a heart attack protects against arrhythmias and subsequent cardiac events.beta blockers 101

Like any medication, beta blockers do have side effects, including:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Flu-like symptoms

Despite these side effects, I do prescribe beta blockers to lower high blood pressure levels. While they are not on my list of “natural” ways to lower blood pressure, I am comfortable prescribing them because they are among the safest of all cardiac drugs. I also use beta blockers in cases of congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation.

This is one medication that you probably shouldn’t ditch for a natural alternative. However, if you experience undesirable side effects, tell your doctor immediately so that you can work together to reduce your dosage or find a suitable alternative. In the meanwhile, be sure that you’re following a good cardiovascular nutrition plan and doing what you can on your own to reduce your heart risk factors.

Note: If you have asthma, you should not take beta blockers because they can lead to broncospasm in asthmatics. Beta blockers should also be avoided by people who suffer from depression. Finally, beta blockers deplete your body’s levels of CoQ10, but you can counteract that effect through supplementation.
 

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