Stroke Risk Factors And Heart Medication

Does Heart Medication Increase Stroke Risk Factors?

Two very popular heart medications on the market today show very similar results in relieving many of the main symptoms of heart disease and encouraging longer life in patients however the stroke risk factors of taking these heart medications is unclear and needs more study.

Before we discuss the resulting increases in stroke risk with taking heart medication lets first look into the two types of meds identified int he following study.

Beta Blockers
Beta blockers is a heart medication that is used for the treatment of heart diseases such as arrhythmias, hypertension, and heart attacks among many others. These heart medications work by blocking the stimulation of beta receptors and as a result they cause the heart to relax. The pulse rate drops as does the force of the contraction.

ACE Inhibitors
Similar to beta-blockers, ACE Inhibitors also are used for the treatment cardiac related diseases such as hypertension and congestive heart failure. They basically work by lowering the resistance of blood flowing through the arteries (i.e. artery plaque build up) thus increasing cardiac output and relieving strain on the heart.

Both heart medications, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, have been proven effective in the treatment of serious heart diseases but a recent group of studies compared the two forms of treatments and find that the two have very different results when it comes to the increase in stroke risk factors.

Increasing Stroke Risk Factors

"According to a review of twelve randomized trials that involved 112,117 patients, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors were equally effective in lowering blood pressure and preventing heart failure.

The drugs differed in the fact that people taking beta blockers [had notably increased stroke risk factors and] were much more likely to suffer a stroke. The researchers recommend not taking beta blockers for high blood pressure but advise speaking with your physician before making any changes."
Risk Factors For Stroke
This finding on the stroke risk factors of heart medications is quite conclusive in my opinion. Generally speaking, either treatment plan is just as good as the other with individual exceptions. For instance some people might be prone to adverse side effects to one heart medication over the other. Stripping these side-affect cases out of the picture however, the only finding worth noting is the fact that beta blockers increase the risk factors for stroke in patients down the road. I would assume that this is reason alone to lean to treatment with ACE inhibitors over Beta-blockers but of course there are always case-specific details which a doctor must weigh independently.

Improve Your Risk Factors For Stroke

A study of this size really averages out outliers so that they can’t be seen without diving into the data. If you are an outlier and don’t conform to the law of averages hopefully your doctor will catch it and prescribe the correct heart medication treatment accordingly. Of course you can always take some action yourself and improve your stroke risk factors by taking walking breaks, eating more fish, and avoiding binge drinking.

You may also be interested in similar stroke risk findings involving the correlation of an increased risk factor for stroke and when high systolic blood pressure is present. If this describes you then learning what some of the leading causes of hypertension are and working to lower blood pressure should be your top priority which these heart medications can help with.

Best Life, Feb 2009
Journal of the American College of Cardiology -

Leading Causes of Death

Heart Disease is easily the leading cause of death in America. One of the major contributors to heart disease is cholesterol. See the following posts for more on lowering your risk for heart disease:

How To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels Naturally

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