by Pierre S. Aoukar, MD and Hratch L. Karamanoukian, MD
Posted: March 2
Beta-blockers are a first-line class of drug used to fight heart disease. They treat hypertension, chest pain (angina), congestive heart failure and irregular heart beat (arrythmias). They are used long term in patients with heart disease to slow the disease process down. Beta-blockers work, essentially by slowing down the heart rate, and decreasing the force with which the heart contracts. Consequently, the heart has more time to fill, the coronary arteries have more time to fill and the heart pumps more efficiently. Beta-blockers also dilate arteries in your body causing blood pressure to decrease. Finally, beta-blockers block some of the abnormal electrical conduction of the heart, helping to prevent arrythmias. There are numerous beta-blockers out there (metoprolol, atenolol, carvedilol to name a few) and though some may cause side effects such as tiredness, dizziness and light-headedness, there may still be one that works for you. With few exceptions, nearly every patient with heart disease should be on a beta-blocker. If you think you fit this category, please talk to your doctor.
Beta-Blockers, Excerpt from the book: Everything Good For The Heart: The A to Z Guide, Aoukar PS and Karamanoukian HL. Magalhaes Scientific Press