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 Dr. George Jacob
Heart Infocenter

Holistic-online.com

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Blood Pressure Medications

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) changes a substance called angiotensin into another compound that raises blood pressure by causing the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels to constrict or narrow. The class of drugs called ACE inhibitors blocks this reaction. Therefore, the compound is not produced, the arteries don't constrict, and the blood pressure doesn't rise.

ACE inhibitors include captopril (Capoten), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and enalapril (Vasotec).

For many patients, particularly African-Americans, ACE inhibitors seem to work wonders. They generally have fewer side effects than some of the other alternatives. Be careful if you are prone to allergies, though.

Side Effects

ACE inhibitors can bring pressure down quickly but can cause, although rarely, a reduction in the number of white blood cells, which leads to an increased susceptibility to infection.

On rare occasions, a patient will develop an allergic reaction that produces swelling of the lips, throat, hands, and feet. Others get skin rashes, some so severe that they develop into a life-threatening illness called Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

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