If you are unfortunate enough to have a heart attack, your doctor may prescribe beta blockers as a preventive method against a second heart attack. They are also prescribed in the case of high blood pressure in some cases. Let's take a look at what exactly beta blockers are, how they affect your body, and why you might be concerned if your doctor prescribes them because of possible side effects.
What Are Beta Blockers?
As a definition, beta blockers (also referred to as beta antagonists) are a specific set of drugs that are used as a treatment for certain heart conditions. They get their name because they block the effectiveness of epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline and noradrenaline) in your body. In every case where they are prescribed, the hope is that they can help regulate healthy heart activity. Beta blocking also happens naturally when you eat certain foods (see the final paragraph).
How do Beta Blockers Affect My Body?
You have beta receptors on the cells of your heart muscles. They are also located in your kidneys, on smooth muscles, and in arteries and airways throughout your body. When the beta receptors in your heart are overworked or over-stressed, or are operating incorrectly, some incoming signals need to be blocked to prevent a heart attack, high blood pressure or irregular heartbeat from occurring.
As with all drugs, beta blockers have side effects. Many people who are prescribed these helpful, heart friendly medications experience no adverse side effects. However, some experience cool feet and hands. Others report feeling tired more frequently than usual. Some users experience a feeling that their muscles are "tight" or weak. Sometimes men may experience the inability to achieve an erection.
Since beta blockers can make you feel tired and faint, even dizzy, this may lead you to workout and exercise less frequently. The two-step side effect then is that you could lose muscle tone and strength. There are natural alternatives to use in place of beta blockers which will not affect your body negatively, or deliver any of the mental side effects attached to this medication like depression and anxiety.
Alternatives to Beta Blockers
If your family has a history of high blood pressure, or you have had a heart attack at some time in your life, you may want to pursue healthy beta blocker alternatives because of the possible side effects you may experience. Actually, beta blockers are not considered the first treatment for high blood pressure and other heart problems in all cases. Exercise, a magnesium supplement every day, grape and pomegranate juice, and foods like salmon and bananas all help deliver natural beta blockers in healthy levels.