If you enjoy sports or any other athletic exercise, there is one opponent that always wins. Father time is the true champion of everything. Let’s face it, as we age, no one can beat him. We try all sorts of concoctions, potions, drugs and voodoo treatments to extend our youth. In the end, we age weather gracefully or not. Along also comes the fact that our body just doesn’t work as properly as it once did. We sometimes try to extend ourselves to our youthful past but with dire consequences.
As we age we need to consider the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Our hearts can’t handle the stress of overexertion in our 60s like in our 20s. We need to recognize that every decade of age comes with decreased strength and increased blood pressure. However, for those moments that we do make the mistake of knowing our limits, Carvedilol (#Carvedilol) can help.
Carvedilol which is sold under the trade name Coreg, is a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure, left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) following a heart attack and congestive heart failure. It is also used after a heart attack to improve the chance of survival if your heart was damaged and is not pumping as intended. Most people own a home so think about your garden hose. The amount of water going through the hose depends on water pressure and size of the hose. Imagine using a motorized pump to add even more water into the hose. The pressure goes up and doesn’t get relieved until you either press the spray nozzle or the hose bursts at its weak points. Your heart tends to be the weak point.
Beta blockers which are also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are medications that reduce your blood pressure. Beta blockers work by blocking the effects of the hormone epinephrine commonly known as adrenaline. Your heart muscles mainly have beta receptors that look for epinephrine in order to contract and work hard. We are all familiar with the term adrenaline rush. Fast beating heart, flush face, etc. That is epinephrine being released and absorbed by your heart.
When you take beta blockers, your heart beats more slowly and with less force, thereby reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow. The reason being is that beta blockers block the beta receptors on heart muscle and other cells. This makes them more relaxed and less responsive to stress hormones. Carvedilol has a second benefit since it also blocks alpha receptors, which are found on blood vessels. In addition, your blood vessels relax, dilate, which lowers blood pressure and vascular resistance.
Although Carvedilol is an amazing medication, we will still need to discuss the side effects of Carvedilol. The milder symptoms include dizziness drowsiness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting diarrhea, slowed heart rate, weight gain, dry eyes and weakness. One of my favorite side effects is erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive of difficulty having an orgasm. Some of you geniuses out there might think that it will be a great idea to pop a Viagra or Cialis. May I remind you that it’s a terrible idea since you will be stressing your heart even more than before. Remember, after a heart attack: reduced blood flow is good but increased blood flow is bad.
The most important Coreg side effects to monitor is low blood pressure. Although it might be considered a good thing, it can also hide hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia if you recall is low blood sugar and have similar side effects to the ones listed above. Also add to the list patients with asthma symptoms such as uncontrolled bronchospastic disease. It turns out that Carvedilol can block receptors in your lungs and vessels that assist in opening the airways.
There is also a clarification to be made concerning the dosage strength. I have seen sites whereby they list Carvedilol 6.26 mg capsules. Keep in mind that Carvedilol comes in 4 capsule strengths: a 3.125 mg strength, a 6.25 mg strength, a 12.5 mg strength and a 25 mg strength. Notice that each one is a factor of 2. The intent is to make prescribing a dosage form as easy as possible for doctors. For this medication, you always start with the lowest strength and work your way up.
Have you had any negative experiences with Coreg or Carvedilol?