The Side Effects of taking ACE Inhibitors for High Blood Pressure

 


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All forms of medication have downsides if we are really being honest with ourselves. High Blood Pressure Medicine is no different. To be honest as I have covered in other articles with regards to medicine for High Blood Pressure it is very much a case of the lesser of two evils or “damned if you do, damned if you don’t. ”

In fact if you don’t take you medication when prescribed the consequences could be extremely high – it could kill you, so whatever side effects you suffer from the one thing that you should never do is stop taking them without prior clearance from your Doctor or Medical Practitioner.

With regards to ACE Inhibitors or “Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor” to give it its full name for classification purposes perhaps it might be an idea to briefly cover what they actually do before we get all negative and cover any potential side effects. The major drug that is prescribed under the subject ACE Inhibitor is called Lisinopril.

These drugs block the action (as the name suggests) of an enzyme within the body that is called Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). ACE as a component is heavily involved in the production of another chemical which is called Angiotensin II. So it naturally follows that Lisinopril reduces the amount of Angiotensin II floating about in our blood stream at any one time or another.

The functions of Angiotensin II are two fold. Firstly it narrows the blood vessels and the secondary function is to stop the kidneys passing more urine. As these actions are reversed (as the name suggests) then it naturally follows that the Kidneys are now producing more urine which in turn means that there is less fluid in the blood vessels. These also widen and the overall effect is a drop in the overall blood pressure and this means that the workload on the heart is decreased dramatically.

The major side effects of taking ACE Inhibitors are as follows.

1. A dry cough

2. Rash

3. A faster pulse.

4. An overall dryness in the mouth.

5. An inability for a man to obtain an erection – though this is easily reversible.

6. Confusion

7. A potential increase in conditions of the digestive tract such as Abdominal pain, Constipation, Diarrhoea, nausea and Vomiting.

8. Swelling of the eyes, lips or tongue. A condition known as Angioedema.

9. Dizziness

10. An alteration in the taste buds (suddenly you like your Mother in laws cooking).

11. Increased susceptibility to as Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction).

12. 12. A noticeable drop in Blood Pressure – this is known as Hypotension

13. Stroke

14. A potential increase in disorders of the Blood, Kidney or Liver.

15. The last point could lead to decreased kidney function.

Decision time for you when you get prescribed these drugs? Good or Bad? It all depends whether they keep you alive or not. If they do then it is worth it. If they don’t then you won’t know about it anyway so why bother?

I was only joking to this last point so please do not take me seriously regarding this. If your Doctor prescribes you with any of the above medication then go with it for the time being and monitor yourself for these side effects very carefully and at the first sign of any of them then get in touch with your Doctor immediately.

It may just be a false alarm; on the other hand it may just keep you alive, who knows?

Stephen is the principal advisor for Connecting Carers, an independent advisory organisation in Primary Caring. http://www.connectingcarers.com , http://www.stressrelief.ws and http://www.stressdiaries.com

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