Betablockers effects on exercise


For people worried about their hearts, Betablocker drugs are recognized as being helpful in controlling hypertension and angina; they are also helpful in reducing the risk of further cardiac incidents for people who have already suffered one heart attack.

They play an important role in lowering the chances of death from coronary heart disease and improving quality of life.

Side effects of beta blockers
Unfortunately these benefits can sometimes come at a cost - some B-blockers have certain side-effects including increased fatigue, tension and depression.

Clinical research
Because it has been proven that exercise has many psychological benefits, a team of researchers at University of Birmingham Medical School decided to investigate the effects of physical activity on offsetting the changes in mood sometimes caused by B-blockers.

The exercise test - in brief
For four days twenty subjects where either given one of two commonly prescribed B-blockers (propranolol, metoprolol) or a placebo. On the fifth day subjects walked on a treadmill at fifty percent of their maximal oxygen effort.

The subjects were then given questionnaires to assess their mood and anxiety level. The same questionnaire had been filled in prior to the treadmill walk.

The results
The results showed that 'depression' was significantly higher with propranolol than with the placebo, but after the hour's treadmill walking depression scores were no different to the placebo.

Tension levels and the drug of choice
Propanolol also significantly increased the 'tension' the subjects were feeling. Again, results showed that exercise reduced the tension in the subjects to the same level as those on the placebo. With Metoprolol, the only statistically significant effect was an increase in fatigue before and after exercise.

This study indicates that exercise can be a positive way to relieve the increased symptoms of depression and tension commonly experienced by patients using propranolol.

Exercise and depression
Similar results have been found by previous research - regular exercise (over a period of six weeks) for people diagnosed with depression can be very beneficial. Patients with established coronary disease wanting to exercise regularly should seek expert guidance on starting and maintaining a fitness programme.

Courtesy of Peak Performance



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