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print articleHow Beta blockers can affect performance

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How Your Performance is Affected by Beta-Blockers

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 26 Aug 2017 | 

Beta-blockers; Angina; Heart Rate; Blood

Normally given for varying cardiac problems, beta-blockers, otherwise known as beta-antagonists or beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are now being used by many sportspersons trying to find ways of improving their performance due to their effects on the body, in particular chemical releases within the nervous system.

What Are Beta-Blockers?

Beta-blockers are a group of medications that are normally given in the treatment of angina, high blood pressure, irregular heart beats or following a heart attack.They act by interfering and inhibiting certain nerve impulses being transmitted through the nervous system. They act by reducing the demand of oxygen required by the heart, lower heart rate and reduce the production of adrenalin.

How Do They Improve Performance?

As beta-blockers are known to reduce the heart rate and inhibit adrenalin production, they are often favoured by those who are nervous or required an extremely steady aim or shot. They are commonly used by those who participate in shooting events or sports such as baseball when they are used by pitchers but are not seen to have any beneficial effects on other athletic events.

As they are now recognised as a method of improving performance they have been banned for use in high-level competitive events such as the Olympics. They have been seen to be used by performers such as musicians or theatrical performers, as they calm nerves and steady the hands by reducing fine tremors. These groups of people are more at risk of becoming psychologically dependent on the drug as they grow unable to perform without using them. Reducing their fear of performing in front of an audience by using these drugs does not allow them to become adjusted to being able to perform naturally and they build up a barrier at being able to do this.

Side-Effects And Risks

There are many possible side-effects of these drugs, but some people may not suffer from any.

Possible effects include dizziness and fainting caused by the medications lowering heart rate too much and blood vessels in the extremities can narrow causing cold and pale fingers and toes. Occasionally the use of beta-blockers can cause impotence or can interfere with sleep patterns.

They can cause nausea and vomiting and as with any drug, there is a chance of a serious allergic reaction though this is very rare. Due to the mode of action on beta-receptors which are also found in the lungs, there is a risk of bronchospasm, so extra care must be taken in those who suffer from asthma or other disorders of the airways. It is essential to inform your doctor if you wish to stop taking beta-blockers as to suddenly withdraw the drug can have very serious effects on health and increase the risk of heart attack.

Beta-blockers are a very useful medicine if used for medical complaints and taken by the person they have been prescribed for. Incorrect usage by sports people or others can result in an instant ban from the activity and can be seriously damaging to health.It is vital that those taking the drug do not suddenly stop and must seek medical advice

 Diuretics; Water Tablets; Dehydration;

As with many legitimate medications that re routinely prescribed for medical ailments and diseases, the use of diuretics has become popular in those wanting to improve their performance in certain circumstances.

<="" are="">Diuretics are what people commonly call water tablets. They are used to excrete excess fluids from the system which can build up as a result of many illnesses such as heart failure. There are several different types of diuretics each working in a different way but producing the same result. The type selected for use depends on the cause of the fluid build-up and the patients' medical history. When they are being used as directed they are extremely effective, but if used without medical advice they can endanger the health and carry some nasty effects.

Who Uses Diuretics As A Performance Enhancer?

There are many groups of sports people who use diuretics as a method of enhancing their performance. Skiers and climbers have been documented as using these products to prevent symptoms of altitude sickness and jockeys and dancers have been known to use them to lower body weight before a competition. They are also often used to flush out any other drugs from the system in the event of being drug tested for other substances.


Why Can They Be Dangerous?

Diuretics cause the body to excrete fluids, they can cause excess excretion which can leave the body depleted of many substances essential for normal health. Aside from feeling thirsty, the person can suffer from a wide variety of symptoms including but not limited to nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, collapse, coma or even death in the worst cases.

If used in excess or by those without medical input, the risks to health can be great. The body can become depleted of many different substances very quickly, some can be extremely detrimental to health. One such condition is called hypovolaemia, which means the blood volume becomes too low, in particular, the blood plasma which gives blood its fluidity. These fluids must be replaced either by oral administration or more aggressively using intravenous fluids if severe. Hypovloaemia can lead to another condition named hyponatraemia, given when the sodium levels in the blood fall below the required level. This can be serious also and will need amending as soon as detected.

Another such condition is called hypokalaemia meaning that the body has become potassium depleted which is needed for muscle and nerve activity. Again the substance will need replacing either through a diet rich in foods containing potassium such as bananas or by intravenous infusion. If the use of diuretics is causing the problem and they must still be taken the dose may need lowering or changing to another type of diuretic is needed as there are some that prevent the loss of potassium that may be suitable.

Diuretics have a very valuable place in conventional medicine and are essential for treating many different illness and diseases. They can be very dangerous, however, if used incorrectly especially in high doses for a long period of time. Their use should always be as instructed bEphedra is a naturally occurring substance found in plant form that has been used for its medicinal benefits for many years. Due to the effects of this product, it is increasingly being used as an aid to performance and for slimming in modern society.

What Is Ephedra Used For?

Ephedra is commonly used in many medicines and preparations and has formed a fundamental part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years.It is frequently found in cough and cold preparations and can help relieve the symptoms of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, sinusitis, hay fever and some allergies.When it is taken as directed and prescribed it can have a very beneficial effect on health.


What Are The Effects Of Ephedra?

The main constituents of the ephedra plant are ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine. These chemicals can stimulate, react and inhibit many of the chemicals in the brain and nervous system that can increase or decrease several functions of nerve transmissions which can result in some positive health benefits such as stimulation, improvement of reactions, opening the airways, increase heart rate and the strength of the heart muscle as it contracts. This, in turn, increases the blood flow around the body leading to increased oxygenation of the tissues.


How Can It Enhance Performance?

Due to the mode of opening the airways and altering the strength of cardiac contractions, oxygen can transfer between the lungs and tissues increasing the red blood cells containing oxygen and perfusing the tissues well. This is thought to aid performance and improve muscle function. It also contributes to increase speed and reaction timers, therefore, can be attractive to those who participate in sports that require quick reaction responses and fast movements. Many athletes use it for these performance enhancing qualities, whilst slimmer shave found that it can suppress appetite and keep them motivated and those studying or who have very busy and chaotic lifestyles use it as an aid of coping with their workload. Students often favour it when revising for exams as it can alleviate tiredness and increase the workload that can be completed.


Side-Effects And Dangers Of Using Ephedra

The use of ephedra carries many minor side-effects that users feel are trivial consequences that are far outweighed by the benefits. These side-effects include a fine tremor, restlessness, loss of appetite, headaches, dry mouth and palpitations. There are however some very serious side-effects that can affect anyone, particularly those who use the substance frequently or in large volumes. These side-effects can include strokes, convulsions, mental health problems and even death.


Is It Illegal?

The use of ephedra is legal for medicinal purposes and can be extremely useful in treating many medical conditions, but should only be taken as prescribed or directed. As it is available in many over-the Ėcounter preparations it is difficult to monitor the level of abuse in society. These types of stimulants are however banned in British sport and athletes are reminded that many of the available as supplements and cough and cold preparation may contain some level of ephedra in the ingredients. Each country has their own rules regarding the use of drugs and chgemicals and set out their own punishments and banning as appropriate.

Ephedra is a potentially dangerous substance when used or abused in an incorrect fashion. Although it can be beneficial to health, this is only when indicated and not for long term or permanent use. The dangers can be fatal and extreme caution should be exercised when using the y a physician as the resulting dehydration can endanger life

Anabolic Steroids; Testosterone;

Steroids are substances found naturally in the human body and include oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Anabolic steroids are substances that are associated with testosterone, the male sex hormone.

What Do Anabolic Steroids Do?

Testosterone is a hormone found naturally in the human body. It is more prevalent in men than in women and contributes to all the male characteristics. It can be used legitimately in medicine but many sports performers are attracted to supplementing their system by taking artificial forms of the hormone. This can have an effect on their output and stature, but can also be detrimental to health.


How Are They Used?

This form of drug can be taken in tablet form, as a liquid that is swallowed or can be injected. To inject steroids can be more dangerous due to the added risk of needle-stick injuries, increased risk of infection and improper disposal of the equipment.


Side-Effects Of Using Anabolic Steroids.

Along with increasing male characteristics, there are many side-effects some potentially very serious surrounding the use of these substances. They can be dangerous to health if taken inappropriately, long term and in large doses. They have been found to raise blood pressure and levels of the types of cholesterol that are bad for health and actually lower the level of good forms of cholesterol. Other serious side-effects, also linked with the cholesterol factors include an increase in the chances of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.Less serious side-effects can include more chance of developing acne due to increased secretions of the sebaceous glands, hair loss, loss of sexual drive and function and in some cases infertility. They are commonly known to have a detrimental effect on the size of testicles and can produce breast growth in men, a condition called gynecomastia.


Why Are They Banned In Sports?

As anabolic steroids are a naturally occurring hormone-based chemical it would be difficult to ban them for general use. Many doctors may prescribe them for use after injury or for certain illness and health issues. They are however a class C drug which means they can be used for personal use but cannot be purchased with the intent to supply to others. Within sport they are banned from all activities, including those who might be using them for genuine health reasons as they can cause the person to have an advantage over other competitors which is unfair and a bad example to fans. They can contribute to increased muscle mass, an ability to train harder for longer and aid in the recovery of strain and injury. Failure to abide to the rules can result in a suspension from the sport.As these substances can be purchased in a variety of forms hosting many different brand names, the governing bodies of each sport have a lengthy list of which products are banned.

Anabolic steroids are hormones that are found naturally in the body but are now being abused by many people for their energy and strength building properties. They offer unfair advantage among competitors and carry serious health risks when used inappropriately, hence why they are banned in sport.

 

Date Inserted: 31 July 2018
Last Updated: 31 July 2018
 
Have questions or comments on this article? email me

 

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