Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are heartmedications that widen or dilate your blood vessels to improve the amount of blood your heart pumps and lower blood pressure. ACE inhibitors also increase blood flow, which helps to decrease the amount of work your heart has to do. Examples of ACE inhibitors include:
Atherosclerosis -- hardening and narrowing of the arteries -- gets a lot of bad press but with good reason. This progressive process silently and slowly blocks arteries, putting blood flow at risk.
Atherosclerosis is the usual cause of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease -- what together are called "cardiovascular disease." Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in America, with more than 800,000 deaths in 2005.
How does atherosclerosis develop? Who gets it, and...
ACE inhibitors are usually taken on an empty stomach one hour before meals. Follow the label directions on how often to take it. The number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and how long you need to take the medication will depend on the type of ACE inhibitor prescribed, as well as your condition.
While taking this drug, have your blood pressure and kidney function checked regularly, as advised by your doctor.
Never stop taking an ACE inhibitor, even if you feel that it is not working. If you are taking ACE inhibitors for heart failure, your heart failure symptoms may not improve right away. However, long-term use of ACE inhibitors helps manage chronic heart failure and reduces the risk that your condition will become worse.
Will my ACE Inhibitor Interact With Any Foods or Drugs?
An ACE inhibitor can interact with some foods and drugs. While taking an ACE inhibitor, do not use salt substitutes. These substitutes contain potassium and ACE inhibitor medications cause the body to retain potassium. Learn how to read food labels to choose low-salt and low-potassium foods. A dietitian can help you select the right foods.