What Are Beta Blockers

There are three types of beta receptors in our body. Beta1 are located in heart, eyes and kidney. Beta2 are found in lungs, GIT, liver, uterus, skeletal muscles and blood vessels. Beta3 receptors find their home in fat cells. The Beta Blockers are the medicines used to stop mingling of adrenaline and norepinephrine with beta receptors and the nerves. This allows easy flow of blood by dilating blood vessels. These medicines are used primarily to reduce blood pressure.

Beta Blockers primarily control functions of Beta1 and Beta2 receptors. These drugs are used to treat cases of abnormal heart rate, tremor, high blood pressure, angina (chest pain) and heart failures. These are very helpful in controlling deaths due to heart failures and prevent recurrence of heart attack in future. Beta Blockers are also used in reducing eye pressure caused by glaucoma. Hyperthyroidism and akathisia i.e. inability to sit still are also treated by these drugs.

Beta Blockers are categorized according to the beta receptors they work upon. Non-selective Beta Blockers block both Beta1 and Beta2 receptors thus affecting blood vessels and air passages. Propranolol is the example of this type. Selective Beta Blockers, Metoprolol mainly work on heart and air passages.

Beta Blockers have certain side effects. The consumption of these drugs leads to headache, confusion, nightmares, hallucination, depression and dizziness. Thus, these blockers show prominent effect on the central nervous system of the body. Other side effects are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and cramps. Use of these drugs cannot be stopped suddenly otherwise it may lead to sudden death or heart failure.

A lot of care needs to be taken while consuming these relaxants. Some blockers interfere with the functioning of others as they act upon different receptor sites. For example, Beta2 blockers may cause shortness of breath in asthmatic patients. Similarly, Clonidine combined with a beta blocker may cause abnormal rise in blood pressure. Such conditions may prove to be fatal to the patients. Common medicines like Aspirin or Ibuprofen may counteract the effects of Beta Blockers.

Some of the popular Beta Blockers are Corgard, Inderal, Lopressor, Levatol, Sectral, Toprol XL, Visken and Zebeta. Beta Blockers should be avoided by nursing and pregnant women. Also, those patients suffering from asthma, diabetes, kidney or liver problem should not take these drugs.

This medicine is boon for those who have recently suffered a heart attack. It eases the workload of the heart by reducing blood pressure. These are mainly used to control abnormally fast heart beats and premature beats. Glaucoma is also treated with these blockers. Like every medicine, these medicines should never be taken without consulting doctor and can prove to be dangerous if consumed in excess. Beta blockers find a very interesting use as performance enhancers. These are used to cure stage fright also by some performers.