Has anyone ever heard the term Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone system (RAAS)?  Maybe, or maybe not, however, this is a hormone system in your body that helps regulate fluid balance and blood pressure.  After reading this blog, I hope that you will have just a little more amazement of all that our body does to keep us alive…while we are focusing on other seemingly important issuesJ

When the body recognizes that the blood volume is too low (i.e., when blood pressure is low), the kidneys release a substance called renin.  The renin is then circulated through the blood stream and interacts with another substance called angiotensinogen, which comes from the liver. 

The interaction of renin and angiotensinogen forms a substance called angiotensin.  Next, a substance called angiotensin converting enzyme interacts with angiotensin and this forms a substance called angiotensin 2. 

Finally, this substance called angiotensin 2 works directly on the blood vessels, causing them to constrict, which increases the blood pressure.  Angiotensin 2 also stimulates the production of aldosterone from the adrenal cortex.

Aldosterone works on the kidneys to decrease the amount of sodium that is lost in the urine.  This increases the amount of sodium circulating in the blood stream which in turn increases the volume of blood which will increase the blood pressure.

In a healthy individual this system works well to maintain adequate blood pressure.  In an individual with slightly elevated blood pressure, an increase in the levels of angiotensin 2 will only aggravate the situation, increasing the blood pressure higher than is considered normal for prolonged and healthy living. 

I took the time to discuss all of this so that you might have an idea of what the classification of some anti-hypertensive drugs means.  I currently have two categories of medications used to decrease blood pressure listed on AudibleRx.  Both categories work on the RAAS (renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system). 

The first category is the ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors).  These block the conversion of angiotensin to angiotensin 2.  As we remember from above, angiotensin 2 works to constrict blood vessels.  This class of medications limits the production of angiotensin 2, and therefore, it is helping to relax blood vessels.

The second category is the ARB's (angiotensin 2 receptor blockers).  This class of medications works directly on the blood vessel, blocking the effects of angiotensin 2.  By blocking angiotensin 2, the blood vessels are not stimulated and therefore stay relaxed.

Medication Specific Counseling Sessions™ for both of these categories can be found in the membership area of AudibleRx.  Please visit www.audiblerx.com and register to become a member.  Membership allows full access to all of the Medication Specific Counseling Sessions.

ACEI's (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors)

  • Benazepril (Lotensin-tm)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec-tm)
  • Lisiniopril (Prinivil-tm, Zestril-tm)
  • Quinapril (Accupril-tm)
  • Ramipril (Altace-tm)
ARB's (angiotensin II receptor blockers)

  • Candesartan (Atacand-tm)
  • Irbesartan (Avapro-tm)
  • Losartan (Cozar-tm)
  • Olmesartan (Benicar-tm)
  • Valsartan (Diovan-tm)

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