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Old 04-24-2007, 09:05 PM   #1
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Beta blockers and shortness of breath

Hello,

I have been on a fairly high dose of beta blockers for some time now. I am glad they have contributed to bringing my blood pressure to an acceptable level.

Beta blockers are known for slowing down the heart, especially during exercise/exertion. They stop the heart from working too hard by reducing the cardiac output. This results in fatigue and constriction of the airways in some people. I am one of those.

I am also on alpha blockers, which give me a stuffy nose (nasal congestion) - making my breathing even more laboured during exertion. Sometimes this happens while I am at rest.

I plan to return to work in the very near future and wonder if there is anything I can do about my shortness of breath. Physical exertion, lifting and moving objects (heavy at times), and fast walking are all a part of my job. I can see this as a potentially huge problem.

It has been suggested to me that I change jobs. I am not willing to do that just yet. (Loss of benefits, lower wage etc.) Another suggestion was that I only work part-time. I might have to; I'll see how it goes.

My question: have any of you experienced my symptoms? If so, did they dissapear eventually? I have had them for 4 months now. How long does it take to develop a degree of tolerance for them? Are there any exercises that might help?

I would appreciate any suggestions/advice. Thanks, guys!

Last edited by flowergirl2day; 04-24-2007 at 09:06 PM.

 
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:54 AM   #2
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Re: Beta blockers and shortness of breath

Quote:
Originally Posted by flowergirl2day View Post
Hello,

I have been on a fairly high dose of beta blockers for some time now. ...
I am also on alpha blockers, which give me a stuffy nose (nasal congestion) - making my breathing even more laboured during exertion. Sometimes this happens while I am at rest.

I plan to return to work in the very near future and wonder if there is anything I can do about my shortness of breath.

...

My question: have any of you experienced my symptoms? If so, did they dissapear eventually? I have had them for 4 months now.
Four months!? What a nightmare! That has to be very frustrating.

How high were your blood pressure readings prior to taking meds? Did you have any other symptoms besides high blood pressure?

I have been taking heart/blood pressure meds for about 20 years. Perhaps something that I have done to reduce, or eliminate side effects might be of help?

I have been able to greatly reduce chest pains, heart rhythm problems, difficult or labored breathing and fatigue by separating my medications by at least an hour.

Also... most blood pressure medications effect the body's handling of calcium or potassium. I take my Digoxin, Ace Inhibitor and Calcium Channel Blocker at least 2 1/2 hours before or after consuming any vitamin, food or drink that contains significant levels of potassium or calcium.

Also, each one of our bodies has a Circadian Rhythm, which controls when the hundreds of hormones, and other chemicals, are released into our bloodstreams. For instance, your circadian rhythm causes your pineal gland to release melatonin, at night, to help you to sleep. Most people don't get sleepy late at night just because they are tired, it's because of the activity of the pineal gland.

Each of us might be on somewhat different Circadian Rhythm cycles, and I believe that the levels of hormones and other body chemicals can greatly effect what happens when we take medications. That is because most heart medications attempt to change how our bodies handle various hormones.

That said, I've found out that I cannot take ANY of my medications at night, or I will get some pretty nasty side effects.

So...... my suggestions: Separate meds by at least one hour (longer if you can), watch what you eat or drink, that contains calcium or potassium, before or after taking meds, and find out the best times to take your meds, and you might get some improvements in the miserable side effects that you are experiencing.

Regards and have a nice Sunday!
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Last edited by Machaon; 04-29-2007 at 09:05 AM.

 
Old 04-29-2007, 02:26 PM   #3
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Smile Re: Beta blockers and shortness of breath

Beerzoids,

Thank you!!! I was beginning to think I was the only one experiencing such nasty side effects of beta blockers. The cardiologist told me my heart function was not responsible for it (good to know). He also pointed out that most people do not have these breathing problems while on beta blockers. (Hm...I don't know whether I believe that or not).

Your suggestion to separate the meds is so simple! That could be where I've been going wrong! I take most vitamins and supplements in the morning along with my meds. The resulting system overload leaves me sick for the rest of the day! I'll try taking one fourth of the dose of beta blockers at a time, perhaps a couple of hours apart, while carefully monitoring my blood pressure and pulse. Then, a couple of hours later, take the supplements and vitamins. It can be done! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for that!

Since you also take calcium channel blockers, I'd like to ask you a question about them. They prevent entry of calcium into the blood vessel walls and heart, thus relaxing and dilating them. That's fine. Can they harm us by interfering with the processes needed for absorption of calcium from food sources? Do they affect the levels of this essential mineral in our bodies? Are we headed for osteoporosis? Have the CCB's been linked to any health problems or mineral deficiencies? I know they increase the risk of heart attacks in women. I think I read the short-acting ones are worse than long-acting calcium blockers.

I am having a great day - it's sunny and the garden is looking good. Going back out for a while.

Cheers!

Last edited by flowergirl2day; 04-29-2007 at 02:26 PM.

 
Old 05-01-2007, 06:25 AM   #4
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Re: Beta blockers and shortness of breath

Hi Everyone,

Just read a bit of info that said that cafffiene, alcohol, and salty foods interact with beta blockers, increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Because these substances may increase heart rate and bp by themselves, I'll need to find out if this interaction is beta blocker specific or generic in nature.

Bsheba

 
Old 05-01-2007, 09:20 AM   #5
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Re: Beta blockers and shortness of breath

Thanks for sharing that information!

I've given up all of the above, with the exception of a cup or two of coffee a day. My BP specialist had OK'd 2 cups of coffee a day.
Please remember to post your findings!



 
Old 05-01-2007, 07:40 PM   #6
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Re: Beta blockers and shortness of breath

Hi,
I don't see how you can work with that job description. Here's how I've had to alter my lifestyle with being on 1800mg of Lebetalol for 4 yrs. I exercise before taking my first dose because there is no way I can walk for an hour even at my moderate pace after taking my meds. Since I have a 2 story house, I avoid going up & down the stairs for several hours after taking meds. If I have to vacuum or move furniture etc requiring physical effort, I do it before meds. I don't get short of breath but I feel like I am pulling myself up the stairs or get exhausted after taking meds. Before my AM meds I can walk for an hour or go up & down stairs without a problem. I take my b/p first thing in the AM & decide whether I can exercise or not. When my b/p was in the 200's I didn't walk until later in the day. BTW Dr.Donuhue (newspaper Doc) says when one is on beta blockers & having trouble with physical exertion, it is best not to stress the heart more by pushing yourself. I hate not being able to get things done on a timely schedule now that I have to focus my life around my meds. Fam

 
Old 05-01-2007, 10:03 PM   #7
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Re: Beta blockers and shortness of breath

Quote:
How high were your blood pressure readings prior to taking meds? Did you have any other symptoms besides high blood pressure?

My blood pressure was totally out of control when diagnosed. After my first trip to emergency (240/160) and while seeing a doctor twice daily in the following week, different medications and combos were tried with zero effect on my BP. Another trip to emergency followed with a reading similar to the one above. During that one week, several different doctors measured my BP (both arms)and reviewed and changed the medications. On admitting to the hospital, my BP was 250/160.

I had suffered terrible throbbing/pulsing pains in my neck arteries for about 21/2 years prior to my diagnosis. Nothing I ever did or took seemed to alleviate the pain. It was excruciating and almost unbearable and lasted for days on end. I am convinced it was blood pressure related, as I have not had this pain since on BP meds. I had been told repeatedly that this was soft tissue inflammation and was given a drug to treat the "inflammation".

The only other symptom I'd had for a few days prior to my being diagnosed was dizziness at work throughout the day, non-stop. I then fell from being dizzy and a co-worker urged me to have my blood pressure checked. Finally, I went to seek help for my arterial pain once again. (Not the dizziness!!!) Inflammation again....yes, even the same drug prescribed...!!!!

I thank my lucky stars I asked for a blood pressure check before leaving the clinic.

Thanks for all that advice!!!

Last edited by flowergirl2day; 05-01-2007 at 10:07 PM.

 
Old 05-01-2007, 10:36 PM   #8
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Re: Beta blockers and shortness of breath

Hello,

I cannot thank you enough for sharing that with me and letting me know that there's a way to live with those meds. I get so breathless I get sick. Same symptoms exactly as you describe. Walking up the steps-12 or so - can be a major accomplishment. Vacuuming is done with frequent stops, allowing me to rest. I found out over the weekend I cannot really do much in the garden either, as everything requires too much effort on my part and even weeding leaves me short of breath. Sad! I even get like this sometimes when not doing anything taxing, just sitting or eating or talking. I must admit to trying to overcome this "handicap" by pushing myself hard on a few occassions, which, of course, only made things worse. For instance: while walking, I decided to hike through the woods. Alone. Took a trail named "the summit trail" . Very steep. Very deserted. (Very stupid). Had to stop every 20feet or so, to get my breathing under control, hoping I would not slip on a rock or in the mud and fall. Pushing myself accomplished nothing.

thanks once again!

 
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