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Beta Blockers and Their Side Effects

Doris' Blog
By: dorisjdickson

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Posted: May 7, 2009 10:17
  • Beta Blockers and Their Side Effects

    I was doing research yesterday and came across a section on side effects of medications. Of particular note were side effects of beta blockers that I had not read before.

    Many diabetics are put on ace inhibitors or beta blockers because physicians believe they reduce the risk of potential kidney disease. However, most insulin dependent diabetics know to avoid beta blockers because one of the things they do is reduce or eliminate adrenalin release. Adrenalin release is one of the ways diabetics know of impending low blood sugar. In fact, I have an insulin dependent friend who (for whatever reason) takes a beta blocker not an ace inhibitor. And sure enough, passing out due to hypoglycemia unawareness is common practice! She can't feel a thing until AFTER her blood sugar starts to come back up. Then she starts to shake like a leaf.

    What I was unaware of was 1) beta blockers stunt insulin release and 2) they cause insulin resistance! Both are tiny but vital pieces of information that diabetics should know - especially non-insulin dependent type 2 diabetics who are more likely to take beta blockers than insulin dependent type 1's and who are much more noted for stunted insulin release and insulin resistance.

    If there is an inexpensive alternative to a beta blocker (i.e. an ace inhibitor), why on earth is it not more common knowledge that there are two side effects of these products which will have a major effect on diabetics?

    Any type 2's out there who were actually told this? I'm curious.


    Doris J. Dickson

    Comments (3):
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  • By: FatCatAnna: May, 08, 2009 13:34 PM

    No Doris - I knew that you were specifying that the beta blockers were the culprits for hypo unawareness/insulin resistance.  I obviously wasn't clear in what I wrote .  I'll have to be more careful of how I type out my thoughts in future. Cheers!

    Posted May 8, 2009 13:34

    By: dorisjdickson: May, 08, 2009 12:26 PM

    FYI - if I was not clear, the ace inhibitors weren't mentioned for insulin resistance or loss of hypo awareness.  Regarding hypo unawareness, it's the beta blockers because they reduce/eliminate adrenalin release.  


    By: FatCatAnna: May, 08, 2009 00:04 AM

    I am a Type 1 diabetic - and have been taking 150 mg of Avapro, which is an ACE inhibitor for almost 10 years now - not for high blood pressure - but as you write above - to help prevent  problems with my kidneys.  I recently blogged about not having been taking them "religiously" and protein in my urine - so am now back to taking them again EVERY day. Tho' to take something more natural would be more my cup of tea (actually tea, wine, dark chocolate are supposably natural ways of reducing blood pressure if used regularily and moderately - and I do like a glass of red wine fwith my meal a few times a week - hmm, wonder if that counts? ). 

    From what I know about beta blockers - it's not recommended for people with depression, which is common amongst diabetics (I know it's something I have always had an internal fight with).

    I guess I am lucky, as I have yet to experience any problems being on Avapro, e.g. not knowing when I am having a hypo - or experiencing insulin resistance - touch wood.  Also, everyone is different in how they handle their health situations.

    The only thing I'm finding tho' recently - and it maybe related to taking Avapro from what I've read of possible symptoms - is headaches and joint aches. I am going to start doing some research on my own and approach my endo when I see him in the Fall time and ask whether or not I should switch to another medication.  I rarely have headaches - and what I'm experiencing makes my eyesight go slightly wacky.  I know you had recommended Lisinopril instead of the Avapro in my blog I mentioned above but  it may or may not be available here in Canada - will have to ask my legal drug pusher (aka pharmacist).

    Posted May 8, 2009 00:03



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