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Healthy Heart Reports

Beta Blockers Side Effects

Recent research shows that beta blockers and diuretics, the drugs prescribed most often for high blood pressure, cause high blood sugar levels, weight gain, tiredness and impotence.

Most people with high blood pressure have high blood insulin levels that increase their chances of suffering heart attacks, constant hunger and weight gain. Beta blockers, such as atenolol and propranolol, and diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide, reduce the body's ability to respond to insulin, causing high blood insulin levels that increase risk for heart attacks, diabetes and weight gain. Because of this, drug companies have developed newer beta blockers such as dilevalol, carvedilol and celiprolol that do not raise insulin levels and therefore do not increase a person's chances of suffering heart attacks, diabetes and weight gain.

Most other drugs used to treat high blood pressure, such as angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors, have no impact on or even improve insulin resistance and help to prevent heart attacks and control diabetes. In the near future, most cases of high blood pressure will be treated with the newer beta blockers or other drugs in place of the older beta blockers and diuretics.

1) S Jacob, K Rett, EJ Henriksen. Antihypertensive therapy and insulin sensitivity: Do we have to redefine the role of beta-blocking agents? American Journal of Hypertension 11: 10 (OCT 1998):1258-1265. Recent metabolic studies found beneficial effects of the newer vasodilating beta-blockers, such as dilevalol, carvedilol and celiprolol, on insulin sensitivity and the atherogenic risk factors. In many hypertensive patients, elevated sympathetic nerve activity and insulin resistance are a deleterious combination. Although conventional beta-blocker treatment was able to take care of the former, the latter got worse; the newer vasodilating beta-blocker generation seems to be capable of successfully treating both of them.

2) R Fogari, A Zoppi, L Corradi, A Mugellini, L Poletti, P Lusardi. Sexual function in hypertensive males treated with lisinopril or atenolol: A cross-over study. American Journal of Hypertension 11: 10 (OCT 1998):1244-1247.


11/9/98

Copyright 1998 www.DrMirkin.com
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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