The ACE in ACE inhibitor is the short for angiotensin-converting enzyme and this inhibitor acts as a vasodilator. ACE inhibitors basically benefit your health by blocking the production of an enzyme that is necessary for your blood vessels to constrict.
ACE inhibitors block the enzyme production that assists in converting the protein angiotensin 1 into angiotensin 2. This protein induces blood vessels to constrict and promotes fluid retention. Both of which raises your blood pressure.
Because ACE inhibitors limit the ability of blood vessels to constrict your blood pressure goes down and your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the same amount of blood. Essentially, the health benefits of taking an ACE inhibitor is to:
- prevent stroke
- treat heart failure
- treat heart disease
- prevent heart attack
- treat high blood pressure
- prevent thickening of heart
- prevent kidney failure in those with hypertension or diabetes
Not only does taking an ACE inhibitor treat high blood pressure, it has the further health benefits of protecting your heart and kidneys.
Drug side effects from ACE inhibitors are rare, yet when you initially start taking them you may experience a dry cough and feel dizzy when standing up. Some of the other potential side effects while you’re taking an ACE inhibitor are:
- appetite loss
- upset stomach
- low blood pressure
- skin rashes, blisters
- feel like fainting spells
- tiredness, drowsiness
- orthostatic hypotension
- metallic taste, salty taste
Your dry cough should subside in a month or so. If not, talk to your health care provider about a reduction in your dosage. And if you experience syncope, contact your health care provider right away.
Taking an ACE inhibitor does put you at risk for a couple of serious side effects, albeit they are extremely rare. The most severe health detriments being kidney failure, allergic reactions, white blood cell count decrease and angioedema. Should your tongue or lips start to swell seek emergency medical attention because you might be experiencing a drug allergy.
ACE inhibitors usually are not prescribed while pregnant because they may cause birth defects and to those with bilateral renal artery stenosis because they may worsen kidney function.
Since ACE inhibitors can increase blood levels of potassium, using potassium supplements, salt substitutes containing potassium or other drugs that increase your body’s potassium should be avoided. Also, ACE inhibitors may increase the blood concentration of lithium, thus increasing its side effects.
If you have hypertension and not heart disease, diabetes nor kidney disease, treating it with an ACE inhibitor may not be your health care provider’s drug of choice.