Beta blockers are a class of drugs that have been found to be useful for a number of medical conditions. They work by blocking certain receptors in the body from the effects of norepinephrine and epinephrine. Different beta blockers are prescribed to affect the body in different ways.

How Do Beta Blockers Work?

Beta-adrenergic blocking agents, commonly called beta blockers, are a class of drugs that target beta receptor cells. These receptor cells take up norepinephrine and epinephrine, which is adrenaline. These biochemicals speed up the heart for rapid response in fight-or-flight reactions. Three different types of beta receptors occur in the body: beta-1, beta-2 and beta-3. Beta blocker medications generally work on the beta-1 and beta-2 receptor cells. They block the affect of adrenaline in the heart, which is why they are often used as treatment for heart disease. Some types of beta blockers also relax blood vessels and allow blood to flow more easily through the body. These beta blockers are often used to reduce high blood pressure. The reactions that beta blockers produce in the body can also be used to treat other conditions.

What Are Beta Blockers Used For?

Beta blockers’ unique properties have been found to aid in the treatment of high blood pressure, migraine headaches, Parkinson’s tremor, hyperthyroidism, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Beta blockers have become important tools for treating many types of heart disease.

Beta Blockers for Heart Disease

Beta blockers are often used as treatment for heart disease. They are used for treating angina, congestive heart failure, mitral valve prolapse, myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy and aortic aneurysm. Beta blockers may also be used in other conditions in which the heart is involved.

Beta Blocker Side Effects

Though beta blockers are important drugs that can help a variety of illnesses, they are not without side effects. Some people on the medications report nausea, diarrhea, lowered or raised blood glucose levels, hair loss, and vision disturbances. Other effects include insomnia, coldness in the extremities, low blood pressure, fatigue, and erectile dysfunction. You should consult with your physician if you experience any of these effects when taking beta blocker medications.