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.
It's the news you don't want to hear from your cardiologist: One or more of your coronary arteries -- the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart -- is blocked. You have coronary artery disease, the No. 1 killer of U.S. adults.
So does this mean you're headed for bypass surgery? Maybe not, if your situation isn't an emergency.
You might have other options -- including less drastic procedures to reopen those arteries, medication alone, or even radical lifestyle change.
What's your best option?...
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.