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Can heart failure be diagnosed in primary care? : Brain natriuretic peptide assays may make it easier

British Medical Journal
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Beta blockers summarized - Consumer Reports Health What are beta-blockers? Beta-blockers are a group of drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure. They are also used to treat chest pain (angina), abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), blocked arteries in the heart (coronary arteries), and heart failure (a condition when the heart muscle gets weaker and cannot pump blood as well). Why is it important to control high blood pressure? High blood pressure is a leading cause of death. Millions of Americans do not know they have it. It can be hard to keep under control, and it causes more heart attacks and strokes than any other condition. It also raises your risk of heart failure, dementia, and kidney failure. How do beta-blockers help? Beta-blockers help to lower blood pressure by making the heart beat more slowly. They can be used alone, but often they are used along with other drugs, such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, calcium-channel blockers, and ARBs. Many people need two or more drugs to bring their blood pressure down to a normal level. What are the side effects of beta-blockers? The side effects of beta-blockers can include bad dreams, cold hands and feet, drowsiness, tiredness, mild depression, and lowered sex drive and sexual impotence. Some people who start a beta-blocker stop because they do not like the side effects. Talk to your doctor about starting with a low dose and then adjusting it as needed. You may have to try more than one beta- blocker to find the one that works best for you. And you may need to change the drug and the dose over time. Our advice: If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure or another heart problem, talk with your doctor about which drugs are right for you. If your blood pressure is slightly above normal, making lifestyle changes may be enough. These include exercising, controlling your weight, eating healthier foods, limiting alcohol, and stopping smoking. You may also need to take a diuretic (such as g

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