Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are a type of medication used to prevent angina (chest pain) and lower blood pressure. They work by blocking calcium from entering cells in the heart and blood vessels, which helps relax the muscles in the arteries and improves blood flow.
CCBs have been used for many years to help treat heart conditions and lower blood pressure, and research suggests they may offer additional benefits for some people. However, there are potential risks associated with taking CCBs, so it is important to talk to your doctor about your individual risks before taking them.
Benefits of CCBs for Heart Health and Health
Angina Relief: CCBs are commonly used to prevent and treat angina, which is chest pain or discomfort caused by lack of blood flow to the heart muscle. By blocking calcium from entering cells in the heart and blood vessels, CCBs allow the vessels to relax, which allows blood to flow more freely to the heart.
Lower Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can be dangerous to your health and increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, and other conditions. CCBs can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of these conditions.
Heart Attack Prevention: Studies suggest taking a CCB can help to reduce the risk of having a heart attack if you have coronary artery disease (a type of heart disease). These medications may help to improve blood flow to the heart and reduce the risk of blood clots.
Heart Failure: CCBs may help to improve symptoms of heart failure such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the feet and legs.
Risks and Side Effects of Taking CCBs
Dizziness: CCBs can cause lightheadedness and dizziness, which can increase the risk of falls.
Headache: CCBs can cause headaches, particularly when first starting the medication.
Flushing: Some people may experience facial flushing, which is a tingling feeling or redness in the face.
Low Blood Pressure: CCBs can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, especially when standing up, which can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.
Allergic Reactions: While rare, some people may experience an allergic reaction to CCBs, which can cause hives, itching, or difficulty breathing.
Calcium channel blockers can offer many benefits to people with heart conditions and high blood pressure, particularly angina relief and the prevention of heart attacks and heart failure. However, these medications also carry risks of side effects and interactions with other medications. It is important to talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks of taking CCBs before starting or changing doses.