Understanding the concept of ACE inhibitors

by Albert T.
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ACE (Angiotensin-converting enzyme) is a hydrolase class enzyme that catalyzes the cleavage of a dipeptide from the C-terminal end of the angiotensin I to produce activated angiotensin II which also goes by the name peptidyl dipeptidase. ACE inhibitors work by converting the angiotensin I to angiotensin II while inactivating the bradykinin. In other words, ACE inhibitors are of the renin action to form the angiotensin in the aldosterone system. They also work as potentiators of the kinin system. One common ACE inhibitor is enalapril maleate. Enalapril maleate is a medication made majorly from enalapril, which is a common ACE inhibitor used in several medicines. 

How enalapril works as an ACE inhibitor

Like other ACE inhibitors, enalapril has two main functions. 

  • Reducing the amount of sodium that is retained in the kidneys
  • To inhibit or stop the production of the hormone angiotensin II

Angiotensin II is an ill desired hormone in the body as it causes the narrowing of blood vessels, which in turn may result in insufficient blood flow as well as oxygen supply to the parts of the body where it is needed. This may result in health issues like cardiac arrest. This, therefore, means when angiotensin II is not produced, the blood flow through the vessels is more efficient, making the vessels expand while relaxed, which reduces the task that the heart while pumping and the volume which the heart has to pump. This hence prevents such issues as high blood pressure or cardiac problems. 

ACE inhibitors

The benefits of ACE inhibitors like enalapril

Some of the benefits of ACE inhibitors include;

  • Relieving high blood pressure
  • Improving overall health
  • Slow down the progression of kidney disorders 
  • Slow down the progression of atherosclerosis (the narrowing down of arteries as a result of plaque buildup)
  • Relieve the symptoms of diabetes
  • Reduce proteinuria (the loss of proteins in the urine)
  • Maintain the functioning of the kidneys hence slowing down the progression of renal failure
  • Reduce the chances of a heart attack among other cardiovascular disorders
  • After suffering a heart attack, it helps prevent a recurrence
  • Reduce excessive water consumption in people suffering from schizophrenia

While ACE is very useful when it comes to the above benefits, ACE inhibitors have some side effects which include;

Side Effects of ACE inhibitors

  • Decreased or complete inability to taste
  • Low blood pressure
  • Constant loss of consciousness
  • Rash
  • Dry and hacking coughs
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of lips, tongue and sometimes, throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Kidney impairment

The last two symptoms are more likely in users who also partake in smoking. Pregnant women are, however, strongly advised against using enalapril maleate and any other ACE inhibitor as the side effects are a risk factor for pregnancy loss. 

ACE inhibitors

Conclusion

Other than enalapril, different types of ACE inhibitors include captopril, benazepril, Monopril, quinapril, Zestril, Mavik, aceon, univasc, and letosin. Enalapril also goes by the name Vasotec. The correct dosage when taking ACE inhibitors depends on several factors. These factors include the type of ACE inhibitor drug you are using, the reason as to why you are taking the medication, doctors’ prescription, the intensity of the medical condition, the side effects and your general state of health. 

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