Immediately after my coronary angioplasty, I was put on 25 mg of metoprolol for life. Apparently the stent placed in one of my heart vessels was also coated with a beta blocker that is released into the vessel over it's lifetime.
Beta Blockers are used to treat high blood pressure, arrythmias and angina. They control the stimulatory effects of adrenaline on the beta receptors that are found in various tissues in the body, including the nervous and cardiovascular system.
Beta receptors, along with the stimulation of adrenaline, assist in the following processes:
a. increased heart rate
b. decreased oxygen uptake by the heart muscle
d. increased blood pressure
e. vessels constriction (athero sclerosis)
f. angina or, chest pain.
Beta blockers :
a. reduce the stimulatory impulses of adrenaline on beta receptors
b. decrease pulse rate, thus lowering blood pressure and work load on the heart
c. reduce vessel constriction and increase oxygen uptake by the heart muscles
d. reduce the risk of heart attacks and symptoms of angina.
There are two kinds of beta blockers, B-1 and B-2. B-1 beta blockers, which regulate heart rate and heart beat, are also called Selective. B-2 blockers along with B-1 blockers (also called Non-Selective) help control smooth muscle functions.
Beta blockers affect other medications used for high blood pressure, allergies, diabetes, asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
While using beta blockers, one should avoid caffiene products, cold and cough medications, anti-histamines, antacids that contain aluminum and alchohol.
There are several kinds of beta blockers in the market including Metoprolal, Lopressor, Inderal, Cartrol, atenolol and acebutolol. Most of these medications come in the similar combinations with different strengths.
Besides being used for heart conditions such as angina and cardiac arrythmias, beta blockers are also used for abnormally fast heart beats, premature heart beats, migranes, glaucoma, anxiety attacks, tremors and mitral valve prolapse.