Diabetes and High Blood Pressue: Have You Had Your ACE Inhibitor Today?

by Cindy

All diabetic patients should be asking themselves this question?  If you have diabetes, hypertension and protein in your urine, you should be taking this class of medications!  ACE inhibitors, also known as Angiotension Converting Enzyme inhibitors, are a unique class of drugs that have several benefits for diabetic patients.  These medications have been shown to reduce the progression of diabetic kidney disease in patients showing some protein spillage in their urine.

The perfect candidate for this medication is any diabetic patient with evidence of protein in their urine.  Also, patients with high blood pressure who may not show signs of diabetic kidney disease can benefit from taking these medications to control blood pressure. 

Don’t forget!  Blood pressure treatment goals are different for patients with diabetes than they are for the general population.  All diabetic patients should aim for a blood pressure lower than 130/80.   I have met many diabetic patients had never been recorded at goal for a diabetic patient and have been left untreated for hypertension.  In these cases, it is best to promptly start a low dose of an inexpensive ACE inhibitor which will improve blood pressure and reduce the risk for progression of renal disease! 

So if you have evidence of diabetic kidney disease or if your blood pressure is not at goal, check your medicine cabinet and see if you are on an ACE inhibitor.  You are looking for a medication ending in “-pril.”  If you cannot take these medications, there is a similar type of medication called an ARB that may be a viable alternative for you! 

These medications are not for everybody as they can cause allergy symptoms and side effects for some people.  In addition, they are not safe in pregnancy so should be avoided in pregnant women or women who may become pregnant.  ACE inhibitors can also cause elevations in potassium levels and should not be used in patients with certain health conditions.  Always discuss your medications and your health conditions with your physician.

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