Alpha vs Beta Blockers
Alpha and beta blockers are drugs or medications that are used for the treatment of hypertension, blood pressure, and other related symptoms. Both these types of drugs work to allow smooth flow of blood in veins inside our bodies, thus helping to lower the blood pressure. However, despite their same objective, alpha and beta blockers have many differences that will be harped upon in this article.
The smooth muscles of peripheral arteries throughout our bodies contain alpha as well as beta receptors. Together, they make up what is called sympathetic nervous system. The basic difference between these two types of receptors is that while alpha receptors work to constrict or narrow down the peripheral arteries, beta work in just the opposite manner as they serve to widen these arteries.
Alpha blockers work to soothe and calm the muscles. They help in smooth flow of blood by opening the blood vessels. Working of beta blocker drugs is totally different. Instead of having an effect on the muscles, they work to lower the heart rate of a person. Lowering of heart rate has the effect of a corresponding lowering off blood pressure. It is clear then that alpha and beta blockers achieve the same objective through different routes.
Of late, research on the working of alpha blockers has suggested that though these drugs lower blood pressure, they actually tend to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This has led to doctors first trying beta blockers and using alpha blockers either in conjunction with them or alone only as a last resort.
Beta blockers work to stop epinephrine and norepinephrine from attaching to beta receptors found all over our bodies. There are three types of beta receptors called beta 1, beta 2, and beta 3. Beta blocker drugs work on beta 1 and beta 2 receptors but have no effect on beta 3 receptors found mainly in fat cells.
Beta blockers have many more purposes than alpha blockers as they have been found to be useful in many ailments such as abnormal heart rate, heart failure, high blood pressure, angina, tremors and migraines. They are used to prevent further heart attacks after a person has suffered an attack.
Alpha blocker vs Beta blocker
• Alpha and beta blockers are drugs that are so named because of their effect on alpha and beta receptors found inside our bodies.
• While both types of blockers help in lowering blood pressure, they work differently
• While alpha blockers work to relax smooth muscles to allow uninterrupted flow of blood in the vessels, beta blockers work to lower the heart rate of a person which translates into reduction of blood pressure
• Doctors are of the view that alpha blockers should not be used alone as they tend to increase the risk of heart attacks.