When treating individuals suffering from primary pulmonary hypertension, or PPH, there are a number of different medical options that can be employed. Oftentimes, doctors will employ the use of diuretics, beta blockers, and ACE inhibitors to optimize left ventricular function.
Beta blockers, specifically, are a class of drugs that are used to not only treat people suffering from hypertension, but is used as cardioprotection for people who have experienced myocardial infarction (heart attack), as well.
What Do Beta Blockers Do?
There are significant differences between different types of beta blockers, as they are used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions including
· Cardiac arrhythmia
· Congestive heart failure
· Migraine prophylaxis
· Essential tremor
In general, however, beta blockers are used to block the action of endogenous catecholamines (for example, adrenaline) on beta receptors in the central nervous system. Specifically, it affects receptors in the sympathetic central nervous system that control the body’s fight or flight response. Because of the calming affect that these drugs can have, beta blockers are sometimes given to individuals who experience performance anxiety.
Dangers of Beta Blockers
As is the case with any medication, there are a number of side effects that can adversely affect individuals who receive these types of drugs. For beta blockers, some of the most common side effects include
· Low blood pressure
· Slow heart rate
· Impaired circulation
· Loss of sleep
· Sexual Dysfunction
These side effects are unilateral for individuals taking beta blockers for any medical condition. In cases of patients suffering from pulmonary hypertension, medical professionals often do not suggest beta blockers as a primary treatment method, as there is a noticeable history of beta blockers causing diabetes in hypertension patients.
In fact, a study conducted in 2007 revealed that both diuretics and beta blockers, two formerly common treatment options for patients with pulmonary hypertension, increased a patient’s risk for developing diabetes. Interestingly, ACE inhibitors, another common hypertension treatment option, were found to actually decrease a person’s risk for diabetes.
Because of studies like this, beta blockers were officially removed as a first-line treatment option for people suffering from pulmonary hypertension.