How Beta-Blockers Treat Diastolic Heart Failure
How beta-blockers work
Beta-blockers are a class of drugs used to control symptoms of heart failure that are made worse by certain hormones called catecholamines. The body releases these hormones as part of its response to heart failure. For this and other reasons, beta-blockers have been shown to be effective for treating most people who have heart failure.
Beta-blockers have a variety of effects throughout the body. They are used to treat heart disease that causes chest pain, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and cardiomyopathy and irregular, rapid heartbeats (arrhythmia). Beta-blockers are also used to prevent migraine headaches, treat tremors, and control anxiety.
Why beta-blockers are used
With diastolic heart failure, the heart does not have enough time to relax and fill with blood before pumping it out to the rest of your body. Beta-blockers help treat diastolic heart failure because they slow the heart rate and allow more time for your heart to fill with blood. Then, your heart can pump more blood with each heartbeat.
How well beta-blockers work
Certain beta-blockers have been shown to:1
Side effects of beta-blockers
If you have diabetes and take beta-blockers, watch your blood sugar levels closely to prevent low-sugar episodes (hypoglycemia). For some people, beta-blockers can hide symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Beta-blockers may also slightly increase cholesterol levels.
Other less common side effects
What to think about
The effect of beta-blockers may depend on the dosage used. A lower dose may have a different effect than a higher dose. Beta-blocker therapy is typically started at a low dose and increased slowly over time.
It may take a few months to see the effects of beta-blocker medicine.
Beta-blockers have been used for many years to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).
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