How ACE Inhibitors Can Help Treat Diabetes

Question: I Have Diabetes. Why Does My Doctor Want Me to Take an ACE Inhibitor?

A question from a friend: "I have type 2 diabetes and mild hypertension. My doctor wants me to take a drug called an ACE inhibitor. Why?"


Diabetes and high blood pressure are closely linked. The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association emphasize that controlling your blood pressure should be as high a priority as controlling your blood sugar, and an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor) can help you do that.

These organizations recommend that people with diabetes should be treated with medication if their blood pressure is above 130/80 mmHg. If you have diabetes and your blood pressure is high, you are at greater risk for developing a diabetes complication, especially heart attack and stroke.

ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors reduce blood pressure and help ease the workload on your heart. ACE inhibitors can help reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death.

Your doctor may recommend that you take an ACE inhibitor even if you don't have high blood pressure. ACE inhibitors can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes complications such as kidney disease, foot ulcers, and eye damage.

Examples of ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors are most commonly prescribed in a generic version.

  • benazepril (Lotensin)
  • captopril (Capoten)
  • enalapril (Vasotec)
  • fosinopril (Monopril)
  • lisinopril (Prinivil or Zestril)
  • quinapril (Accupril)
  • ramipril (Altace)
  • perindopril (Aceon)
  • trandolapril (Mavik)

Some people who take an ACE inhibitor have a slightly increased risk of low blood sugar. Therefore, if you have diabetes, you should closely monitor your blood sugar levels several weeks after you start taking an ACE inhibitor or after increasing the dose of an ACE inhibitor.

Never stop a prescribed medication without consulting with your healthcare provider first.

American Diabetes Association. Executive Summary: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2009. Diabetes Care. 32:S6-S12, 2009.

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