Beta Blockers, Ace Inhibitors, and Diuretics

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Cardiologist, discusses beta blockers, ACE Inhibitors, and diuretics.

Cardiologist, discusses beta blockers, ACE Inhibitors, and diuretics.

Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Kevin Pistawka, MD, FRCSC, Cardiologist

Video Title: Beta Blockers, Ace Inhibitors, and Diuretics
Duration: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

Beta blockers are a very commonly used drug in cardiology.

We use them for everything - we use them for arrhythmias for heart failure, for angina, after heart attacks, these are important drugs.

The reason they're important is that adrenalin - we all think of adrenaline as a really good thing and it gets us going, and we're ready for sports, but with heart disease it can become a bad thing. Adrenalin can be toxic to the heart and it can actually make patients more likely to have chest pain, more likely to have arrhythmias, more likely to have heart failure, so we want to block that adrenalin.

And the way we block adrenalin is with our beta blockers. They're drugs that lower the heart rate, lower the blood pressure, take the stress out of the heart, and in doing so make patients live longer, feel better and lead more happy, productive lives.

ACE inhibitors and angiotensin and receptor blockers are also very important drugs for cardiac conditions, these drugs, what they do is they basically lower the blood volume and they reduce the tension of the blood vessels.

We use them to treat high blood pressure but we use them even in patients with normal blood pressure. What we want to do is we want to reduce the tension inside the heart.

Many patients with heart attacks are left with a soft, weakened area of the heart like a soft area on an inner tube and if that's put under pressure that area can expand and can weaken and affect the normal areas, before you know it the heart's enlarged and it's shot like your inner tube may be shot.

What you want to do is you want to decompress the heart, lower that blood pressure, even to very low numbers, sometimes 90 or 100 millimetres of mercury, and we do this with ACE inhibitors and ARBs and in doing so patients with heart failure they feel better, they live longer, they stay out of hospital.

Diuretics are important drugs, we use them for high blood pressure but I also use them for heart failure, you've all heard of water pills. What they do is they make you pee - pretty simple therapy, you take the drug, you basically get rid of excess salt and water.

Many patients with heart failure carrying around excess salt and water, their ankles are soggy, their lungs are full of water and salt and they're feeling breathless, these diuretics  help us get rid of all that extra salt and water, and in doing so patients feel much better and again stay out of hospital which is the important thing.

To be certain whether you should be on a diuretics, an ACE inhibitor and/or a beta blocker it's important you talk to your physician, your general practitioner, your cardiologist, and they can sort out whether these drugs are meant for you.

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Presenter: Dr. Kevin Pistawka, Cardiologist, Kelowna, BC

Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

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This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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