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Do Beta Blockers Cure PACs?

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Beta Blockers

Suffering from hypertension? “Take a beta-blocker.” Battling heart failure? “Here’s a beta-blocker.” Experiencing heart palpitations? “Try a beta-blocker.” Does this ring a bell?

For years, beta-blockers have been hailed as the go-to remedy for numerous heart conditions, with about 30 million Americans currently using them. But when it comes to addressing cardiac arrhythmias, are beta-blockers genuinely effective?

Many people with premature atrial contractions (PACs) mistakenly believe that beta-blockers can cure heart palpitations. So it’s high time we take a closer look at beta-blockers’ role in managing arrhythmias like PACs and reassess their effectiveness.

What are PACs?

Premature atrial contractions, or PACs for short, are unusual heartbeats that start in the upper part of the heart, called the atria. These extra beats hijack the heart’s natural pacemaker, disturbing the regular heart rhythm.

PACs are often described as a skipped beat, an extra hard beat, or fluttering. While often dismissed as benign, PACs indicate something is awry in the body.

Occasional PACs are not uncommon and rarely require treatment. However, if someone experiences multiple PACs a day or is accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, or fatigue, doctors often prescribe beta-blockers. 

What are beta-blockers?

Beta-blockers are drugs designed to help our bodies handle stress by interacting with specific hormones in our nervous system. Commonly known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, their primary role is to block adrenaline—a hormone known for making our hearts pound during tense moments.

Examples of beta-blockers include metoprolol, atenolol, carvedilol and bisoprolol.

Beta-blockers slow the heart rate down and lower blood pressure.

Beta-blockers and PACs

Heart palpitations, such as PACs, are often triggered by stress. Since beta-blockers quite literally block stress hormones such as adrenaline, it stands to reason that beta-blockers may make the heart less responsive to stress’s effects.

Moreover, beta blockers lower blood pressure and heart rate, thus reducing the workload of the heart. Theoretically, if the heart doesn’t have to work as hard, it frees up energy to keep it beating normally. A less excitable heart is more likely to remain in normal sinus rhythm.

Unfortunately, little research supports the use of beta-blockers for heart arrhythmias such as PACs. In fact, in some cases, beta-blockers may be pro-arrhythmic, meaning they worsen heart palpitations.

Beta-blockers aren’t the only medications used to treat premature atrial contractions. Doctors sometimes prescribe calcium channel blockers or antiarrhythmics to treat heart palpitations, such as PACs.

What’s the problem with beta-blockers?

Stress hormones serve an essential physiological role in our bodies. Humans rely on that beta surge of adrenaline, which benefits the body in many ways. Unfortunately, suppressing this natural response contributes to the many side effects of beta-blockers, which include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low libido
  • Nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight gain

More serious side effects of beta-blockers include bradycardia (low heart rate) and hypotension (low blood pressure). In addition, in some cases, beta-blockers cause heart block and worsening heart failure.

Do beta-blockers cure PACs?

In short, the answer is usually “no”.  When you slow down the heart, PACs often get worse. I liken the situation to the carousel at the amusement park. The ride slows down, it is easy to get on. The ride spins fast, hard (and dangerous to get on. Heart slows down, extra beats from PACs jump in.

A study of nearly 45,000 heart patients concluded that beta-blockers don’t reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or death.

If beta-blockers don’t cure PACs, what does?

The only way to permanently cure premature atrial contractions is to identify and address the root cause of the inflammation that is causing the PACs in the first place.

Possible causes of PACs include:

  • Poor diet deficient in seafood and ethically sourced animals
  • Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight
  • Inadequate sleep (and sleep apnea)
  • Excessive stress
  • Toxins in the body
  • Subluxations in the spine (see your chiropractor)
  • Poor dental health
  • Medication side effects 
  • Underlying disease

A recent study found coffee does NOT increase the risk of PACs. I think quality coffee like our Cardiology Coffee actually decreases PACS.

Often, PACs can be cured by identifying the cause of premature atrial contractions and taking action to address the problem.

Next steps

While there is a time and place for pharmaceuticals, it’s essential to acknowledge that many of these drugs, including beta-blockers, have significant side effects. Therefore, whenever possible, they should be used as a last resort.

If you are taking a beta blocker for PACs or any cardiovascular issue, consult one of our expert medical providers. Together you can decide whether it’s possible to wean off your medications.

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Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

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About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

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Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.