Beta blockers are a group of drugs used for subsiding risks of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, cardiac dysrhythmia, high blood pressure, angina and hypertension. The drugs basically act on beta adrenergic receptors present in our body by interfering with activity of norepinephrine, catecholamines and other hormones.
In layman's language, the drugs block the pathway of hormones that elevate our heart rate during high impact activities like 'fight and flight' response. Although the drugs are administered to combat cardiovascular emergencies, the long-term side effects of beta blockers cannot be overlooked. Detrimental effects of beta blockers are associated with causing health ailments when taken for a long period or due to sudden withdrawal.
Beta Blockers' Long Term Side Effects
The common beta blockers prescribed by doctors include acebutolol, esmolol, bisoprolol, nebivolol, propranolol, etc. The dosage is also determined according to the need of your body. The three types of beta blockers, namely type 1, type 2 and type 3 are administered under strict advice of doctors. The names are so given depending upon the function of the drug. Beta 1 receptors are present in the heart, kidney and eye, concerned with secretion of noradrenaline, isoprenaline and dobutamine. Beta 2 receptors, located in uterus, blood vessels, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and skeletal muscle is associated with adenylate cyclase and cAMP pathway.
Beta 3 blockers are located in fat cells (enhance lipolysis) and it's dependent on Gs, adenylate cyclase and cAMP. These are certain important information that a person should show before taking beta blockers. The drugs act as antagonists for these hormones and the desired effects are pronounced. The harmful effects in some cases result from withdrawal of drugs or due to continuing them for a long period. The most damaging health effects are associated with central nervous system and heart. Read the next paragraphs to know the details.
When the medication dose is increased, your body will experience sudden weight gain. Beta blockers and weight gain are associated with each other since they block metabolism of fats. When fats are not broken down, they tend to accumulate in tissues and surrounding areas and finally causing weight gain. Weight gain is generally caused by consuming type 3 beta blockers. You must inform your doctors if you are rapidly gaining weight due to intake of beta blockers.
Nausea, Dizziness, Fatigue and Hypertension
Some of the most common long-term side effects are dizziness, headache and tiredness. You will experience constant tiredness while taking beta blockers for a long span. Dizziness and lightheadedness is more often felt after waking up from bed. Laziness and fatigue occurs due to weight gain. Diarrhea, dehydration and vomiting are some other effects of strong dose. You should always discuss with your doctor if you are facing all these health complications. You might also suffer from depression and hallucinations due to consuming beta blockers for a long period.
Beta blockers withdrawal can cause serious heart problems. It can slow down heart rate to very low limits. It might also lead to reversal of effects causing cardiac blockage and heart failure. One of the most significant long-term side effect is reduction of blood pressure. When your blood pressure falls below normal, you suffer from weakness and lack of energy. Stopping intake of beta blockers instantly can cause severe chest pain and death as well. Rebound hypertension is a very serious condition caused due to sudden stop of dosage. Increase in cholesterol levels also causes heart disorders.
People suffering from Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes should be careful while taking beta blockers. The dosage and the duration should be strictly determined by doctors, this is because beta blockers might increase or decrease blood glucose levels. You might suffer from hypoglycemia on consuming beta blockers for a long stretch. Diabetic patients might also carry the risk of heart disorders while taking beta blockers.
Apart from health hazards of beta blockers mentioned in the content above, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, migraine and sleep apnea could also be caused. Migraine, headache and anxiety are also the rebound effects of beta blockers. The drugs should be consumed after discussing your health complications openly with your doctor. In any case, they are not safe in the long run and the side effects are bound to take over your body.