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Starting a New Drug for the Heart

In another continuation of my journey with heart problems, I recently took a rather big step: I started a new drug in the hopes of quelling some of the pain and health problems I've been dealing with regarding my heart.

Starting a beta blocker for my heart issues

I started taking propranolol — it's a beta blocker that is normally designed to treat high blood pressure and the physical symptoms of anxiety. While sometimes I do have high blood pressure, I was put on this drug for more of the anxiety symptoms and for lowering the rate at which my heart was beating.

In this article, I'd like to share my experience thus far with being on this drug and what I feel like it has done for me.

Frequent tension headaches

If you remember my initial diagnosis journey story, you'll remember that the whole start to this CVD journey was that my resting heart rate randomly increased after having COVID for the third time. After a battery of tests, my heart is somewhat normal; and yet, the elevated resting heart rate remains.

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I talked with my primary care doctor here after I moved to Madison, and she agreed to put me on propranolol, both for the heart rate and because of the fact that I frequently get tension/anxiety headaches.

Feeling calmer and more confident

I've been amazed at how differently I feel since taking this drug. My resting heart rate has really slowed down, I feel calmer, and I feel more confident (strangely). But, more importantly, my heart has not been beating as much — though not to the point of something negative or dangerous to my health.

I'd like to mention that even though my primary care doctor prescribed this medication, I was in conversation with my cardiologist about taking this new drug. I feel that it's important to have my entire care team know of any new drug, especially those involving the heart, and after what I've been through, I do not want to take the wrong step in my treatment.

Coping with a few side effects

As good as I feel now, I did feel extremely tired during the first 2 weeks. It felt like each day that I was taking the drug, I felt exhausted and just wanted to stay in bed. I had little motivation to do things, and I generally just wanted to avoid all responsibilities.

It felt like I wasn't totally connected with reality; my head would pound, I'd feel like I might pass out, and my mood was lethargic. I even noticed that I didn't move as much; this is according to my Apple Watch, which I use daily to track my heart rate and movement. However, after 2 or 2 and a half weeks, I noticed that I feel much better and no longer have these temporary side effects.

One side effect that has remained, though, is vivid dreams. I'm not sure why, but this drug makes me dream so much more and so much more vividly than before. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as I am still sleeping well; but if you are sensitive to dreaming or don't like to have very visceral and sensitive dreams, then you might need to consider a different drug. Again, consult with your doctor about this, as this is just my experience thus far.

Who else has experience with beta blockers?

Overall, I have had a very positive experience with this beta blocker, and I plan on incorporating it as part of my daily medicine regimen for my heart health. Have any of you had similar or different experiences with propranolol?

Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The CardiovascularDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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