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Heart Disease and ACE Inhibitors

Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are heart medications 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:

Why Are ACE Inhibitors Prescribed?

Your doctor may prescribe an ACE inhibitor for the following heart conditions:

 

How Should I Take ACE Inhibitors?

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.

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs, like Aleve and Motrin) and aspirin may cause the body to retain salt and water, and decrease the effect of an ACE inhibitor. Check with your doctor before taking any anti-inflammatory medications.

It is important that your doctor is aware of all the drugs you are taking, as some (in addition to those listed above) may potentially interact with ACE inhibitors. Talk to your doctor before taking any new medication, including over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and supplements.

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