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Alternatives to Beta Blockers for Blood Pressure

Alternatives to Beta Blockers for Blood Pressure
Female hands with blood-pressure meter isolated over white

Q. I’m not a pill taker, but my doctors insist I get my blood pressure down to 120/80. I started on beta blockers (first propranolol, then atenolol and now metoprolol). They make my joints ache and I feel tired, depressed and disappointed. Diovan makes me weak and dizzy. My hair is falling out, my cholesterol is going up and my breathing is bad.

I used to feel great. I stayed active by walking and golfing. Now I can barely drag myself out of a chair. Are there any better medications or natural remedies I could ask my doctor about?

A. As important as it is to control hypertension, you should not have to curtail your activities because of blood pressure pills. Your medicines could well be contributing to your symptoms. Beta blockers are no longer considered the best first treatment for high blood pressure.

Exercise is important. Other natural approaches include pomegranate, grape or beet juice. Magnesium can also be helpful.

You will find more details on these and other natural approaches along with the pros and cons of various anti-hypertensive medicines in our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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