Beta-blockers block beta receptors in the heart, lungs, pancreas, liver and blood vessels.
They are used to treat angina, high blood pressure, some abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, myocardial infarction (heart attack), anxiety, overactive thyroid symptoms, glaucoma and migraine.
Many beta-blockers are available and generally they are all equally effective. There are however differences between them which may affect choice when treating different diseases. Your doctor will be able to advise you on selection.
Most people who take beta-blockers have no side-effects. However, because of their action in various parts of the body, some people have unwanted effects.
•Sometimes the heart rate can go too slow. This can make you dizzy or feel faint.
•If you have asthma or are prone to 'bronchospasm' you should not take beta-blockers. This is because beta-blockers may narrow the airways and make breathing symptoms worse.
•If you have diabetes you need to be aware that beta-blockers may dull the warning signs of a low blood sugar level (hypo). For example, you may not develop palpitations or tremor which tend to occur as the blood sugar is going too low.
•Some people develop cool hands and feet when taking beta-blockers. This is because they can constrict (narrow) small blood vessels and reduce the circulation to the skin of the hands and feet.
•Tiredness, depression, impotence, vivid dreams, nightmares and other sleeping problems occur in some people.
•There is some evidence to suggest that beta-blockers may provoke type 2 diabetes to develop in some people
The above is not a full list of possible side-effects - but mentions the main ones that may occur.
For a list of available beta-blockers visit :https://www.drugs.com/drug-class/beta-adrenergic-blocking-agents.html
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