If you’re suffering from certain heart conditions, such as hypertension and angina, beta-blockers help you enjoy a better quality of life. Find out what beta blockers are, who needs them, and which heart conditions they can help to manage. You’ll get a greater understanding of how the heart works and the investigations you may need to be able to start taking them if you’re not diagnosed. Book your consultation with Dr Iqbal Malik today.
What are Beta blockers?
Beta blockers are a class of medication that’s primarily used to treat certain heart conditions by blocking the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones are released during stressful situations or if you’re engaging in physical activity, such as a workout. This causes the heart to beat faster and with more force, which causes the blood vessels to constrict and your blood pressure to rise. The parasympathetic system in healthy individuals would naturally modulate this increase. But if you’ve got a heart condition, we need the help of beta blockers. These block the hormones, slow the heart rate, reduce the force of the heart’s contractions and dilate the blood vessels. This manages your symptoms by lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart.
Which heart conditions can beta blockers treat?
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
For hypertension, these drugs are no longer first line agents – but if you are on them and have no problems there’s no need to change medication.
The treatment of Angina involves a combination of revascularisation (using coronary angioplasty or bypass surgery), as well as managing the symptoms with beta blockers. Beta blockers decrease or blunt the heart’s need for oxygen during exercise or stress.
The addition of low dose beta blockers when treating chronic heart failure improves your symptomatic status and can increase your life expectancy.
Which beta blockers do I need?
The original prototype beta blockers had excellent effects on the heart rate, but unfortunately, were associated with significant extra cardiac side effects (such as tiredness). Luckily, there’s now a fantastic range of cardioselective and non-selective beta-blockers which we use to treat your heart condition based on your specific needs and diagnosis.
‘Cardioselective’ beta blockers
Modern Beta Blockers, such as Bisoprolol, are selective for the heart. This means they primarily affect the heart and blood vessels, causing less of an impact on other parts of the body such as the airways and the prostate. This is a better option if you’ve been affected by conditions such as asthma or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Nebivolol is commonly used to treat hypertension. It’s considered a “cardioselective” beta-blocker, but it also has a unique property in that it increases the production of nitric oxide to dilate blood vessels and improves blood flow. If you’ve got hypertension along with other cardiovascular diseases – Nebivolo could be a better option.
Non-selective beta blockers
Carvedilol is a non-selective beta blocker. This means it blocks the effects of both beta-1 and beta-2 receptors in the body. It’s used to treat hypertension, heart failure, and left ventricular dysfunction. It also has antioxidant properties and can reduce inflammation, which can help chronic heart failure.
Beta blockers can also be used to prevent migraines, and reduce the risk of death and the risk of recurrent heart attacks in people who have had a heart attack.
What investigations will I need before I can take beta blockers?
You’ll need to be diagnosed with one of the above conditions. To do this, we’ll need to carry out a series of investigations. These typically include:
- Cardiac MRI Scan
- Coronary Angiography (CT) – to look for related coronary artery disease and measure heart pressures may be needed
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) Test
Ready to book your consultation?
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition and are looking to be prescribed beta blockers along with your treatment plan, or are in need of a diagnosis or investigation, please get in touch. Just give us a call, e-mail or fill out our simple contact form to arrange your consultation with London’s top cardiologist specialists.
Get seen quickly
As we’re a private clinic, your appointments work around you. You’ll soon have your symptoms managed so you can start enjoying life again.
Beta blocker prescriptions are covered by most private medical insurance policies, but please contact your insurance company prior to your appointment to obtain your pre-authorisation code to speed things up.
Our price list is available on request and is on display in our waiting area. For an estimation of costs please get in touch.
Why choose London Cardiovascular Clinic?
- We offer a patient-centred approach, so you’ll feel looked after and have all your questions answered
- Choose from our flexible appointment times and get seen at your convenience
- Personalised treatment plans
- Get consultancy & treatment from London’s top cardiologists – each with their own special interests
- You’ll experience a much more welcoming and relaxing experience at our private clinic than you would elsewhere
- Video resources to help you further understand your condition and the procedures involved