Treating High Blood Pressure With ACE Inhibitors
Learn how this type of prescription high blood pressure medication works and discover its possible side effects
ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors are popular blood pressure medications because they work really well at suppressing a powerful enzyme that can cause arterial walls to constrict and drive up blood pressure. This keeps arterial walls relaxed, thereby lowering blood pressure and decreasing the work that the heart has to do. There are a number of commonly prescribed ACE inhibitors on the market, including captopril (Capoten), ramipril (Altace), enalapril (Vasotec), benazepril (Lotensin), fosinopril (Monopril), and quinapril (Accupril).
Potential Side Effects of ACE Inhibitors
- Chronic cough (the most common and distressing symptom)
- Abdominal pain
- Chest tightness or pain
- Decreased kidney function
- Decreased sexual function in males
- Bone marrow depression
- Liver damage
- Increase in potassium levels
Because of these side effects, I always check my patients’ renal function and potassium level before prescribing an ACE inhibitor. You should also make sure your doctor knows if you have a history of kidney disease, collagen vascular disease or diabetes, and whether you take potassium supplements.
Potential Nutrient Depletion
Nutrient depletion is another common side effect of ACE inhibitors. Nutrients that may be depleted in the body as the result of taking ACE inhibitors include zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and CoQ10. Consequently, you need to make sure that your supplementation program includes these nutrients, or modify your diet to feature foods that are high in these nutrients.
Good food sources of zinc include: oysters, beef shank, chicken legs, pork tenderloin, yogurt, baked beans, cashews, pecans, Swiss cheese, and milk
Good food sources of vitamin B6 include: potatoes, bananas, garbanzo beans, chicken breast, oatmeal, pork loin, mackerel, snapper, wheat germ, and walnuts
Good food sources of magnesium include: avocado, wheat germ, almonds, shredded wheat cereal, pumpkin seeds, cashews, spinach, potatoes, soybeans, and peanuts
Good food sources of phosphorus include: yogurt, lentils, wild salmon, skim milk, halibut, beef, turkey, chicken, cheese, and peanuts
Good food sources of potassium include: figs, avocado, papaya, bananas, dates, bulgur, skim milk, guava, cantaloupe, and fresh squeezed orange juice. Baked potato is the best source.
Good food sources of CoQ10 include: beef, chicken, trout, salmon, and broccoli
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Keeping Blood Pressure Low
Want the scoop on other common prescription high blood pressure medications? Learn more about:
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How can you address stress to lower your blood pressure? Read about techniques to help you manage your emotions and daily stressors in an effort to reduce your blood pressure reading.
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Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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