Unnoticed for decades in the past, heart diseases have now come into the limelight as one of most common causes of death, not only in the USA but throughout the world. As statistics would show, about a quarter of those living in the US succumb to some sort of heart disease and that 65% of those aged 65 and above are now dependent on heart medications. This data is based on studies carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The most common medications that are being prescribed today for heart-related problems are beta-blockers. These are used to treat irregular heartbeats, chest pains, and high blood pressure. Doctors agree that beta-blockers are important not only in managing symptoms of heart diseases but also in preventing heart attacks, especially those who have experienced it for the first time. Beta-blockers are indeed the most in-demand medication for those with heart issues. Here is some information about this indispensable medication that was invented by a grieving son whose father succumbed to a heart attack.
A Short History
Back in the early part of the 1960’s, Sir James W. Black, a Scottish pharmacologist developed propranolol which was the very first beta blocker. He developed the drug after he studied the effects of adrenaline on a person’s heart. His interest in beta blockers began when he was still a medical student. At that time, his father got into a minor car crash, suffered a heart attack, and died suddenly. Black believed that the heart attack that caused his father’s death was caused by an adrenaline rush as he experienced the accident. Because of this, he dedicated himself to developing a medication which can relax the heart. In the year 1988, black received the Nobel Prize in Medicine Part of this was because of the breakthrough medication he developed. Black also developed a medication known as cimetidine which is effective in the treatment of stomach ulcers.
In the years since Black invented beta blockers, doctors have used them to combat heart diseases and their symptoms. According to studies, beta blockers can reduce the risk of sudden death from cardiac events such as heart attacks by more than 30%. With such medications, heart rhythms can feel better, angina improves, and more. In fact, most people who take beta blockers feel better because of them.
Over the decades. beta blockers have become more and more targeted. In the beginning, were only “non-selective” which means that they only blocked the adrenaline receptors in a person’s heart as well as in the other organs such as the liver, lungs, and kidneys. Over time, beta blockers became more sophisticated which means that they could be used for other purposes as well. Nowadays, there are more than 10 beta blockers available and they all have different purposes.