ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure

Everything you need to know

ACE inhibitors are the shortened name for a type of medication called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, which acts to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a long term condition that affects the blood vessels. 

How do ACE inhibitors work? 

Ace inhibitors work by relaxing the blood vessels. They do this by stopping the body from producing a chemical called angiotensin II, which narrows the blood vessels and triggers fluid retention. In turn, this makes it harder than usual for the heart to pump blood around the body. By relaxing the blood vessels, and lowering fluid retention, the medication lowers your blood pressure and allows the blood to move easily around the body. 

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Who can ACE inhibitors suitable? 

Ace inhibitors are usually prescribed in the first instance when high blood pressure is diagnosed. They are suitable for patients under the age of 55 who are not of African or Carribean descent. These medicines are also not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women or children under 12. 

What are some examples of ACE inhibitors?

There are many types of ACE inhibitors available in the UK to treat high blood pressure. These include: 

  • Captopril
  • Cilazapril
  • Enalapril
  • Fosinopril
  • Imidapril
  • Lisinopril
  • Moexipril
  • Perindopril
  • Quinapril
  • Ramipril
  • Trandolapril

LisinoprilPerindoprilEnalapril and Ramipril are all available to order through Dr Felix. 

Are there side effects? 

When you first start taking the medication, you might experience side effects, but these will usually subside as your body gets used to the medication. Common side effects may include: 

  • Dizziness
  • A persistent dry cough 
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Rash
  • Altered taste 

If you feel dizzy at all, then you should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you feel better. 

How long will I need to take an ACE inhibitor? 

If you are prescribed medication to control your blood pressure, then it’s likely you’ll need to take it for life. High blood pressure doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, so you might not feel any different after taking the medication. This doesn’t mean it’s not working, so you should continue to take it. The same goes for when your blood pressure reaches a healthy level. If you stop your medication, then your blood pressure will probably rise again. 

It’s often the case that you’ll need to take more than one type of medication to treat high blood pressure. Ace inhibitors are sometimes combined with Indapamide and Amlodipine. This combination medication is also called Coversyl Arginine Plus.

Will I need to make any lifestyle changes?

Everyone with high blood pressure should eat a low salt, low-fat diet. There are several changes you can make to reduce your blood pressure and improve your overall health. These include: 

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Limiting your salt intake 
  • Avoiding processed foods
  • Cutting down on alcohol and caffeine
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Get enough sleep

These are all steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure from occurring in the first place. 

What causes high blood pressure?

Lifestyle factors can cause high blood pressure, but older adults at a higher risk. There are several possible factors, underlying conditions and other medications which can increase your risk of high blood pressure. These include: 

  • Age
  • Having a family history of high blood pressure
  • Being of African or Caribbean descent 
  • Being overweight 
  • A lack of exercise 
  • Eating too much salt
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol regularly 
  • Smoking 
  • Sleep deprivation 
  • Diabetes 
  • Kidney disease 
  • Lupus 
  • Hormone problems 
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Steroids 
  • The combined contraceptive pill 
  • Herbal remedies containing liquorice 
  • Some cough and cold remedies 
  • Recreational drugs
  • Some antidepressants 

View our full range of high blood pressure treatment.


NHS > Treatment- High Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure UK > ACE Inhibitors

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