Q:

How do ACE inhibitors work?

A:

Quick Answer

Angiotensin converting enzyme, or ACE, inhibitors slow an enzyme in the body from producing angiotensin II, states Mayo Clinic. Angiotensin II narrows blood vessels and releases hormones that can raise blood pressure. ACE inhibitors also help increase the release of sodium and water to the urine.

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Full Answer

When ACE inhibitors are used, the blood vessels dilate as a result of the decreased production of angiotensin II. The heart is more easily able to pump blood when blood pressure is lower. Lotensin, Vasotec and Zestril are examples of ACE inhibitors, which are used for blood pressure with or without other medicines such as diuretics. This type of medicine helps heart attack patients by decreasing the work the heart must do, adds WebMD. People with diabetes or hypertension or patients suffering from heart failure benefit from the use of ACE inhibitors. ACE inhibitors can differ in how and where they work in the body. Some ACE inhibitors work better on ACE that is in the blood than what is found in the tissue, according to MedicineNet.

ACE inhibitors are commonly prescribed by doctors because they don't often cause side effects, states Mayo Clinic. Fatigue, dizziness, increased blood-potassium levels and rapid heartbeat are some possible side effects. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, reduce the effectiveness of ACE inhibitors.

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