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Do beta blockers carry a risk of triggering diabetes?

Q: I am 54 years old. Two years ago I had some problems and my BP was 160/100 a couple of times. I was therefore prescribed Aten 50. Some months back I read on a BBC site that beta blockers in general and Atenolol in particular were unsafe and carried a high risk of diabetes. I therefore (on my own) reduced the dosage of Aten 50 to Aten 25 and then over two-three months in stages stopped it completely. For the past 20 days I am not taking any medicine at all for BP. My BP is now ranging from 125/80 to 140/90 at different times of the day. It does not go beyond this range. I am a vegetarian, I exercise regularly but slightly overweight (BMI of 26.5) with no major stress. Do I need any medication for my BP or would some life style changes be sufficient? What would you suggest?

A:A causal reading of high levels of BP does not mean you suffer from high blood pressure. perhaps you started treatment too soon and unnecessarily. If your BP is normal without drugs, you should stay off drugs. Keep checking your BP once a week and if it goes up, you can start medication. Although Beta Blockers are not the ideal drugs for patients with hypertension and diabetes, doctors do prescribe them sometimes, especially if the patient has Angina. However, many other drugs are now available such as ACE inhibitors, ARBS, Calcium cannel blockers etc. You can ask your Cardiologist to prescribe a suitable one.

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