Type 2 diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions throughout the world, which has major health implications as such patients have considerably increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is involved in a wide range of adverse effects that contribute to the pathogenesis of CHD in diabetic patients, including vascular haemodynamic regulation, oxidative stress and hypertrophy of vascular cells. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are widely used in clinical practice. In diabetic patients ACE inhibitors and ARBs both effectively lower blood pressure, particularly in combination with low-dose thiazide diuretics, and may be considered first line therapies in the treatment of diabetic hypertension. Additionally they have important renoprotective actions independent of their blood pressure-lowering action, which is of particular benefit in diabetic patients, who are at increased risk of developing nephropathy. ARBs are generally well tolerated, but ACE inhibitor therapy is associated with some side effects such as cough and both may result in hyperkalaemia. Blockade of the RAAS with these agents appears to play an important role not only in protecting from renal disease, but it may also help to reduce morbidity and mortality from certain vascular diseases in diabetic patients.
Keywords: Angiotensin-converting enzyme, Angiotensin receptor blockers, Cardiovascular disease, Coronary heart disease, Diabetes, Nephropathy, Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, Stroke
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