Facebook Pixel

How Beta Blockers Help Heart Patients

Rate This

To understand beta-blockers, we must first know what beta-receptors are, what they do and why they need to be blocked by the beta-blockers for heart patients.

In very simple terms, beta-receptors are protein molecules that help process various messages emanating from the central nervous system to all the organs, tissues, cells etc. To be able to be effective towards this function, beta-receptors are dispersed throughout our body, but are found more in some parts.

There are 3 types of beta-receptors, beta-1, beta-2 and beta-3. Beta-1 is primarily found in our heart and kidneys. Beta-2 is found in higher concentrations in our lungs, skeletal muscles, liver, gastro-intestinal tract, uterus, smooth cardio vascular muscles etc and Beta-3 is found mainly in the fat cells of our body.

Under situations of stress, anxiety, excitement or heart dysfunction, the adrenaline (aka epinephrine) released by our adrenal glands stimulates all the beta-receptors (beta-1, beta-2 and beta-3) and makes us ready for a fight-or-flight response.

Stimulation of beta-1 receptor sets-off a chain of changes such as increasing our heart rate, increasing the force of heartbeat, increasing the automacity of the heart, increasing the volume of blood pumped out per beat. It also excites the kidney to release renin and this increases our blood pressure.

Agitation of beta-2 receptors by adrenaline causes tremors in our skeletal muscles, increase in glycogenolysis (which produces a complex compound of glucose and phosphate that enables lightning speed delivery of energy) by the liver and smooth muscles, increase in gas exchange through the alveoli of the lung and increase in the smooth muscle relaxation.

Stimulation of beta-3 receptors by adrenaline causes breakdown of fat cells and release of free fatty acids and ketones.

High adrenaline release consistently keeps body on it’s toes and though this is a desired state in times of emergency and could make the difference between life and death, being in this state for prolonged periods for healthy individuals and especially for heart patients is disastrous for obvious reasons.

Beta-blockers once ingested go and bind themselves to certain sites /points of beta-receptors. They directly control the nerves of the body that sets heart rate and force of beat etc. As an effect, they bring down the heartrate; reduce the force of heartbeat and amount of blood pumped out of the heart per beat. Beta-blockers also reduce renin release by the kidney so that the amount of the extracellular volume such as blood plasma, lymph etc reduces thus bringing down blood pressure. It is precisely this action on our bodies that beta-blockers achieve that make them life-saving drugs that avert repeat heart attacks in patients. In addition, they slow down glycogenolysis, skeletal-muscle tremor and reduce the volume of gas exchange in the lungs.

Beta-blockers like Propranolol enter the blood-brain barrier and affect the central nervous system effect in reduction of sympathetic activity of the body. However, today a mixed prescription is often given to heart patients (Alpha plus Beta-blockers) to get more cover on cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory and other conditions. Remember, all medications should be prescribed by your doctor or physician and should be had in consultation with a certified medical professional suited for the treatment of your condition.

Mamta Singh is a published author, entrepreneur and a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida. She is the lead writer and holds expert author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. Mamta runs her own popular blog on migraines in women. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Link: http://www.migrainingjenny.wordpress.com

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Arrhythmias Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!