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Blood Pressure Medications Have Extra Health Benefits for Diabetes

For people with diabetes, blood pressure medication can be a real lifesaver. Two types of blood pressure medications are good for your heart as well as your brain, kidneys, and eyes.

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Blood Pressure Medication Information

Two classes of medications--angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)--often are used to treat high blood pressure, also called hypertension. They also help reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack in high-risk people, including those with diabetes.

ACE inhibitors and ARBs also help decrease diabetes-related kidney and heart complications.

They also have little adverse effect on glucose levels and cholesterol. "They are the go-to class of antihypertensives in patients with diabetes, as cardiac [heart] and renal [kidney] protective drugs," says endocrinologist Bob Busch, M.D., of Albany, New York.

Complications Protection
In addition to their positive effect on blood pressure, ACE inhibitors and ARBs have been shown to:

  • Reduce the progression of some diabetes complications that affect the kidneys and eyes. A recent study called the ADVANCE trial demonstrated that blood pressure-lowering therapy with an ACE inhibitor and a water pill reduced the number of kidney events experienced by people with type 2 diabetes by 21 percent, compared with those on a placebo.

  • Protect the heart. The ADVANCE study showed that the relative risk of death from cardiovascular diseases decreased by 18 percent and death from any cause decreased by 14 percent for people with type 2 diabetes taking an ACE inhibitor and water pill.

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