Beta-blockers are one of the most widely prescribed class of drugs to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and are a mainstay treatment of congestive heart failure. Beta-blockers slow the heart's rate, thereby decreasing the heart’s demand for oxygen. Long-term use of beta-blockers helps manage chronic heart failure.
When it comes to the heart’s health, there are some things you can’t control -- like getting older, or having a parent with heart disease. But there are many more things you can do to lower the chances of sabotaging your ticker.
“An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure in this instance,” says Gregg Fonarow, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman and associate chief of UCLA's division of cardiology.
To help your heart keep on keeping on, here are 10 things not to do.
Beta-blockers can be taken in the morning, at meals, and at bedtime, but taking them with food minimize side effects because absorption is slower. Follow the label directions on how often to take a beta-blocker; the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and how long you need to take the medication will depend on your condition. Ask your doctor what to do if you miss a dose.
Beta-blockers should not be prescribed if you have low blood pressure or a slow pulse, because the further reduction in heart rate can cause dizziness and lightheadedness. If you have asthma or COPD, your doctor may not prescribe a beta-blocker because it may worsen symptoms. will treat your congestion before prescribing a beta-blocker. Oused if you have extremely low blood pressure (hypotension) or a slow pulse (bradycardia) that causes you to feel dizzy or light-headed. If you have severe lung congestion, your doctor will treat your congestion before prescribing a beta-blocker.
While you are taking a beta-blocker, you may need to record your pulse every day. If your pulse is slower than it should be, contact your doctor about taking your beta-blocker that day.
Never stop taking a beta-blocker without speaking to your doctor first, even if you feel that it is not working. Sudden withdrawal can worsen angina and cause heart attacks.
What Are the Side Effects of Beta-Blockers?
Side effects of beta-blockers are not uncommon, but if these symptoms persist or become severe, contact your doctor:
Dizziness or lightheadedness. This side effect may be strongest when you get out of bed or rise from a chair.