High blood pressure causes a lot of stress and tension on the heart and arteries (vessels carrying blood). Chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension that continues for a long period of time, can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.1 This can result in problems with organs, such as the brain and kidneys, and lead to life-threatening conditions. Kidney failure, heart failure, and strokes are all some of the conditions that can be caused by hypertension.
Metoprolol for hypertension
Metoprolol (Metoprolol Tartrate), can treat a variety of conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and irregular heartbeat. Metoprolol can also be useful for preventing heart disease, heart attack, migraines, or stroke.
Metoprolol works by controlling nerve signals in different parts of the body. To treat hypertension, Metoprolol targets the heart. It blocks certain chemicals in the body, such as epinephrine, from working. This slows down the heart rate, which makes it easier for the heart to pump blood all throughout the body. Blood and oxygen levels are then increased in the heart. With the decreased stress on blood circulation, blood vessels can relax blood pressure levels drop.
Metoprolol is part of a group of medications called beta blockers. In general, beta blockers function to counteract the effects of muscle contractions.2 Beta blockers are a standard treatment for people with heart disease, however they can also be used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).3
In 2020, COPD was the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.4 It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease caused by blocked airway passages. Symptoms of COPD include trouble breathing coughing, wheezing, and mucus production.4 The bodily stress of this conditions results in other naturally occurring illnesses, such as heart disease.
By treating COPD patients with Metoprolol beta blockers, it can reduce the risk of damaged arteries, heart attacks, and death frequently seen in these patients.
How to take Metoprolol
Metoprolol should be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Metoprolol medications can be taken on their own, but they are usually combined with other treatments.
Metoprolol can be taken orally after a meal 1-3 times a day. It may take several weeks for the effects of Metoprolol to be seen, so it should be taken regularly to gain the most benefits.
For women with hypertension who are breastfeeding, studies have found really low levels of Metoprolol in women’s breastmilk who were taking the beta-blockers.5 To date, no studies have shown any negative consequences of taking Metoprolol while breastfeeding.5
If you are taking Metoprolol, stopping it can be dangerous if done abruptly. Your doctor will typically gradually reduce the dosage to prevent worsening of the condition.
Side effects of Metoprolol
Most people taking Metoprolol for hypertension do not experience any significant side effects. However, since Metoprolol changes blood pressure, side effects can include dizziness, slowed heart rhythm, drowsiness, or changes in bowel movement. Light-headedness can also happen when moving from sitting to standing or from a lying-down position. Moving slowly can help decrease this symptom.
Allergic reactions are rare but it is important to monitor for rashes, itching, swelling, or in more serious cases, shortness of breath.
Talk to your doctor about other medical problems or any other medications you may be taking. The interactions of different drugs can affect how well your medication works. It can also change how serious the side effects can be.
Can hypertension be cured?
It is difficult to cure high blood pressure with medications, rather they help to control it. Instead, it is important to maintain a well-balanced healthy lifestyle.
Eating a healthy diet, filled with lots of fruits and vegetables, can help prevent high blood pressure and keep it within a normal range. Increasing intake of potassium, fiber, and protein, while decreasing sodium (salt) and saturated fats can help keep the heart and blood vessels healthy.6
The effects of high blood sugar on blood pressure have also recently been made more clear. Research has found that a low-glycemic (or low carbohydrate) diet can decrease blood pressure.7 This is namely because it decreases sugar intake. A high carbohydrate diet causes hypertension by decreasing how much salt and water is filtered through the kidneys, which results in tightening of blood vessels.7
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are also important for proper blood pressure and heart functioning. It is recommended for adults to engage in about two hours of moderate intensity exercise a day.6 Being overweight or sedentary increases the risk for developing hypertension.
Smoking and heavy drinking are known to increase blood pressure both temporarily and long-term. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that men have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and that women have no more than one.6
- Hypertension. (2019, September 13). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hypertension
- Farzam, K., & Jan, A. (2021). Beta Blockers. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
- Albouaini, K., Andron, M., Alahmar, A., & Egred, M. (2007). Beta-blockers use in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and concomitant cardiovascular conditions. International journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 2(4), 535–540.
- Metoprolol for the Prevention of Exacerbations of COPD. (2020). New England Journal of Medicine, 382(14), 1374–1376. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmc2000638
- Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Metoprolol. [Updated 2021 Feb 15]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501156/
- Prevent High Blood Pressure | cdc.gov. (2020, February 24). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/prevent.htm
- Santos, F. L., Esteves, S. S., da Costa Pereira, A., Yancy, W. S., Jr, & Nunes, J. P. (2012). Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 13(11), 1048–1066. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x
- Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay