Angiotensin converting enzyme, or “ACE” inhibitors, are a type of medication that doctors prescribe to treat high blood pressure, or “hypertension,” and other cardiovascular conditions.
This article outlines the different ACE inhibitors that are available. We also discuss the effectiveness of ACE inhibitors, along with their potential side effects and risks.
ACE inhibitors prevent the body from making the hormone Angiotensin II. Ordinarily, this hormone narrows the blood vessels, which causes an increase in blood pressure and forces the heart to work harder.
By inhibiting the production of Angiotensin II, ACE inhibitors keep the blood vessels open. This reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of complications associated with hypertension.
Most people take ACE inhibitors orally, but some may administer the drug intravenously.
- benazepril (Lotensin)
- enalapril (Vasotec)
- lisinopril (Zestril and Prinivil)
- quinapril (Accupril)
- ramipril (Altace)
Doctors mainly prescribe ACE inhibitors to treat the following conditions:
- cardiovascular conditions (e.g., high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease)
- heart problems (e.g., heart disease)
- kidney problems (e.g., primary nephrotic syndrome)
Doctors consider some of these uses as off-label. Off-label means that the FDA have approved a drug for one condition, but doctors prescribe it to treat something different.
Most people who take ACE inhibitors do not experience side effects. When side effects do occur, they are usually minor.
|Side effect||Percentage of people affected|
|Low blood pressure, or “hypotension“||7–11%|
|Elevated levels of urea, nitrogen, and creatine in the blood (a possible sign of kidney problems)||2–11%|
|High potassium levels, or “hyperkalemia“||2–6%|
Some people may develop more severe side effects when taking ACE inhibitors. Examples include kidney problems and allergies to the ACE inhibitor. Another severe side effect that can occur is angioedema, which is swelling, typically of the tongue and throat.
People who take ACE inhibitors should contact their doctor if they experience any side effects while on the medication. Anyone who has a swelling of the tongue or throat should call 911.
These drugs can also help people who have high blood pressure due to kidney disease.
When treating high blood pressure, a doctor will often combine the ACE inhibitor with another antihypertensive medication to increase the effects of the drug.
Doctors have found that calcium channel blockers (CCBs) and thiazide diuretics can work well with ACE inhibitors to lower blood pressure.
ACE inhibitors usually do not cause problems when a person takes them as directed.
However, pregnant women should not take ACE inhibitors due to a risk of harm to the fetus. These risks include:
- low amniotic fluid levels
- kidney problems
- abnormal skull development
People who have an allergy to ACE inhibitors should not take the medication.
People with the kidney condition bilateral renal artery stenosis (BRAS) should also avoid these drugs. BRAS is a narrowing of the blood vessels within the kidneys. ACE inhibitors can cause worsening kidney function in people with this condition.
People who are concerned about the potential risks of ACE inhibitors should talk to their doctor.
Beta-blockers and CCBs are two other medications that doctors commonly prescribe to treat heart problems and high blood pressure. Both drugs work differently to ACE inhibitors.
CCBs prevent calcium from interacting with the body’s calcium receptors.
Ordinarily, calcium plays a role in contracting the muscles within the heart and blood vessel walls. CCBs block the movement of calcium into the blood vessel walls, causing these walls to relax. This reduces blood pressure and allows the heart to receive more oxygenated blood. By blocking calcium movement into the heart muscles, the heart contracts more slowly. This puts less stress on the heart.
The type of medication a person receives depends on several factors, including their:
- overall health
- medical history
ACE inhibitors are one of the more common medications used to lower blood pressure and treat cardiovascular health issues.
Most people who take ACE inhibitors do not experience side effects. When side effects do occur, they are generally mild.
However, ACE inhibitors are not suitable for everyone. Pregnant women, in particular, should not take these medications.
Doctors often prescribe ACE inhibitors alongside other antihypertensive medications. Combined drug treatments can be particularly useful in controlling high blood pressure.
Stressed Students, Bridesmaids Drama, And More: An Advice Column From A Total Amateur
Hi! A while ago I asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell me a problem they’re having, so that I — a person with absolutely zero professional qualifications to help anyone — could give them advice. So, here are the results! NBC 1. “Dear Andy,I have NO idea where I should go to school… I’m applying…
Hi! A while ago I asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell me a problem they’re having, so that I — a person with absolutely zero professional qualifications to help anyone — could give them advice. So, here are the results!
I have NO idea where I should go to school… I’m applying to 12 schools, 10 on the west coast and two in BC. I’m a high achieving student (I’m in five AP classes, president of two clubs, volunteering and a job, etc.) and I don’t want to go somewhere that’s all about the pressure, but I still want a high quality education. I’m so lost, help!”
—The Overwhelmed Student
You posted this just to dunk on all of us academically, didn’t you?
Kidding. In all seriousness, you can get a very good education at a bunch of different schools. And when you’re done, you’ll have a degree that probably nobody will ever verify! In my completely amateur opinion, the only reason people think the “Ivy League” schools are better is because a lot of wealthy, well-connected people go there (and have gone there), and therefore when you graduate from one, you’re more likely to get in at some fancy law firm or whatever because of your connections. So if you aren’t planning on being like, IDK, the CFO of Waystar Royco or something, just pick the school that you really want to go to. Where are you going to be happy living? Is one of the schools in a city you already want to move to and/or the city that has jobs in your future profession? Is it important for you to be close to home? How many Wendy’s are there on campus, and do they carry Spicy Nuggets? These are the questions you should be asking.
Oh, wait, actually…forget all that. Go to the school that will cost the least when you factor in tuition, room & board, and any scholarships you might get. Student loans are a curse and you want as little of them as possible. In the end, you might not even end up doing the thing you studied in college. Wanna know what degree I have? A BFA in Theater Performance. An acting degree. And now here I am, writing for a website. You’ll be fine.
I got married this summer, and I decided to choose only family to be my bridesmaids. For me this included three female cousins and my (now) sister-in-law. My husband, on the other hand, decided to do a mix of family as well as friends from high school for his groomsmen. I had no problem with this at all.
I had a few friends who I knew would expect to be bridesmaids, so I made it clear to them from the very beginning that I would be choosing family only as to not have a huge wedding party, but I told them they were not any less important to me and that I still wanted them to be involved in the wedding as much as they felt comfortable with. Most of the friends I had this conversation with were very understanding, however one straight up told me that she was disappointed (this was two years before the wedding).
Now it’s been a few months since I got married and this friend (a friend from childhood) started talking about the wedding. She told me she felt left out of the wedding since she wasn’t part of the wedding party. It particularly bothered her that my husband included friends and I didn’t. She then proceeded to tell me that it was difficult for her to be there the day of my wedding because of these feelings. AT MY WEDDING. She also included the fact that she didn’t want to upset me and that it doesn’t change our friendship. But if that is the case then why say anything in the first place? I’ve already said one too many times the reason for my bridesmaid choices and how important she is to me regardless. And she says she understands. I just wish she would let it go. Ever since this conversation I feel like I’ve been seeing her in a whole new light.
I do care about her feelings, but I stick by my decision and I don’t regret anything. I feel like I’ve done everything I can to make her feel better.”
—The Besieged Bride
[TL;DR: Bride had only family as bridesmaids, groom had some friends in the mix, bride’s childhood friend felt left out and complained about it a few months after the wedding.]
Question one: How drunk was your friend when she brought this up to you? If she was like, a 6 or more out of 10, I say let’s give it a pass and hope she got it out of her system.
Question two: Has your friend had a wedding of her own yet? If yes, then she should’ve understood the situation, because wedding planning is a special kind of hell and inevitably you have to make difficult decisions like this one that might hurt people’s feelings. So if you’ve planned your own wedding, you know the deal and you’re able to say to yourself, “It’s their wedding, I’m just going to be supportive and have fun.” If she hasn’t gotten married yet, she’ll realize later that it was totally inappropriate to complain about this to you. Hopefully.
I have been taking so many of the relationship quizzes on BuzzFeed but they all say I’m single. The major problem is I have an S.O. Is she just faking or am I?? Help me!! Is my girlfriend not actually mine or are we real?”
—The Quizzical Quiz-Taker
You’re not real. This is all a simulation.
—Andy (or am I?)
I’m not sure where to live. I live in Milwaukee, WI, right now. Moved here three years ago for school, but that fell through because Milwaukee is friggin expensive. My family wants me to move back to the other side of the state, towards Minneapolis/St. Paul. What should I do?”
—Meandering the Midwest
Get the fuck out of there, it’s so cold! Listen, I used to live in Michigan, and it was depressing because it was grey and miserable nine months out of the year. Now I live in Southern California, it’s sunny and beautiful and my vitamin D levels are through the roof. Migrate south, seriously.
But if you HAVE to stay, I will say that everybody who lives in Minneapolis seems to LOVE Minneapolis for some reason.
My problem is that I struggle with feeling attractive. I started taking birth control when my boyfriend and I started dating (six years ago). I started gaining the weight right after. I’m now a size 12 and my boyfriend is a slender guy. I haven’t felt attractive in the last year. I gained so much weight at one point I was a size 16. I’m back to a 12 and trying to lose weight again. I don’t feel sexy or beautiful in any way. I prefer to keep my shirt on during sex now. I don’t know why my boyfriend still finds me attractive. I have a tummy, I have rolls when I sit down, I just don’t know what he sees anymore. Any advice you could give me would be much appreciated.”
—Struggling With Size
First off, don’t worry about your boyfriend. Clearly he finds you attractive, and when you actually care about someone, the size tags on their clothes don’t matter to you at all. Appreciate that fact and find some security there.
Now, consider the possibility that if your boyfriend finds you attractive at any size, you can too! It’s not easy. It requires shedding every bit of toxic influence that the media and our society overall has thrown at you for your entire life. That takes time and work.
But if you are worried about your physical health at all, consult a doctor. There are many different types of birth control and like 40 different pills, and everyone reacts to each one differently. It can take time to find the right one, and not every doctor is going to be helpful about it. Advocate for yourself if you’re unhappy with your medication. You may have done all of this already and I’m just sitting here mansplaining BC to you, but if so at least you can cross that off your Mansplaining Bingo Card.
That’s it for this week. But if you’re having a problem that you need advice about, let me know! It could be anything: petty arguments that you need a judge to decide who was right and who was wrong, help making life decisions, relationship issues — I’m your completely unqualified man. Email firstname.lastname@example.org (for total anonymity) or leave a comment here!