Blood pressure is one of the most important parameters that defines and determines organ performance in the body. Blood in the body must flow in arteries, veins and capillaries with a pressure that is conducive to healthy living. Medical science has determined the ranges within which this pressure is considered to be normal. While minor fluctuations in blood pressure are normal, consistent high or low blood pressure in any of the circulatory systems can lead to complications.
Vasotec is an ACE inhibitor (sold under trade names like Vasotec and Elanapril), which is used in combination with other high blood pressure medications for managing symptoms of heart failure. It is also used to improve heart functioning at an overall level. It blocks the formation of angiotensin (vasoconstrictor substances that cause narrowing of blood vessels) in the kidney and also results in vasodilation.
Like all conventional medicines, vasotec too has accompanying side effects and contraindications.
Diuretics are an important part of high blood pressure medications and potassium supplements are usually prescribed to make up for the loss of potassium in urine. Vasotec may increase levels of potassium in the blood. Therefore, there is an increased risk of hyperkalemia (increased levels of potassium) if potassium supplements are part of the therapy.
Vasotec can harm the unborn child in the womb and should not be prescribed or administered to pregnant women. Nursing mothers should also avoid this medication.
Apart from these contraindications and drug reactions, the side effects of vasotec include:
- Dry relentless cough, which usually resolves on discontinuation of the medication.
- Abdominal pain.
- Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
- Vertigoes, giddiness and fainting.
- Headaches and general fatigue.
- Loss of appetite.
- Chest pain.
- Numbness or tingling sensation in hands or feet.
- Rashes, sore throat or swelling in the pharynx.
ACE inhibitors like vasotec are known to cause serious allergic reactions called angioedema, a condition of recurrent circumscribed areas of subcutaneous accumulation of fluid in tissues. In rare cases and in vulnerable individuals, vasotec may hamper kidney or liver function and may lead to jaundice.
In spite of these side effects, Vasotec remains an unavoidable drug for treating high blood pressure. In most cases, blood pressure does not reduce immediately and the patient may be required to take the drug over a protracted period of time. Moreover, Vasotec does not cure high blood pressure but merely manages to keep it under check, necessitating medication even when the patient is feeling well. Side effects of vasotec cannot be anticipated and are mostly transient in nature. Only a trained physician is qualified to assess whether the drug should be discontinued or the dosage reduced based on the side effects that are observed.
The better option is to be aware of the causes of high blood pressure and to take preventive measures. A hectic lifestyle that lays too much stress on perfection, competitiveness and ambition is one of the major causes behind most modern diseases including high blood pressure. Natural remedies for high blood pressure including moderation in alcohol intake, regular exercise, cholesterol control and abstinence from fatty foods can be helpful, if adopted with extreme conscientiousness.