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What Is the Connection between Lisinopril and Diabetes?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The connection between lisinopril and diabetes revolves around maintaining healthy vascular pressure in the kidneys. Renal blood pressure typically rises in patients with diabetes, and lisinopril acts by interfering with the processes that cause vascular constriction, which reduces blood pressure. Besides preventing kidney damage from hypertension, other uses of lisinopril include improving the symptoms associated with congestive heart failure. For patients with diabetes, taking lisinopril is can produce side effects, ranging from dizziness and headaches to swelling beneath the skin.

In untreated diabetic patients, sugar remains in the bloodstream instead of providing cellular energy. Elevated blood sugar puts added stress on the kidneys as the organs attempt to eliminate the sugar from the body. Vascular pressure increases, causing renal hypertension, which damages the fragile capillaries that provide the filtering action. The capillary damage, or nephropathy, minimizes filtering ability, allowing blood and proteins that normally remain in the body, to flow into urine. As renal pressure increases, further kidney damage occurs.

To maintain homeostasis, the kidneys release renin when blood volume drops below normal. The liver releases angiotensinogen, which renin converts to angiotensin I. Angiotensin converting enzymes are released from the lungs, forming angiotensin II, a potent vasoconstrictor, which causes contraction of the blood vessels and heart. The subsequent narrowing of vasculature raises the blood pressure. Lisinopril belongs to the antihypertensive medications known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. The medication inhibits the enzyme that initiates the conversion of angiotensin I into angiotensin II.

In addition to the association of lisinopril and diabetes, the ACE inhibitor can be prescribed alone or in combination with other medications for the treatment of general hypertension as well. When heart failure patients do not adequately improve using diuretics and digoxin type medications, physicians may add lisinopril to the treatment regimen. One of the risks associated with lisinopril includes the possibility of experiencing hyperkalemia, or increased blood levels of potassium. The risk increases when using the antihypertensive with potassium sparing diuretics.

One danger associated with lisinopril and diabetes as well as with lisinopril and other disorders includes an increased risk of infection. Lisinopril interferes with the white blood cell counts in certain individuals, and patients should consult a physician if symptoms of an infection develop. Common side effects of lisinopril include developing a dry cough or having diarrhea, and some patients experience a condition known as angioedema, which causes swelling in the face, lips, and tongue. Swelling of the glottis, larynx, and tongue may lead to life threatening airway obstructions. Though the condition occurs rarely, patients may develop symptoms after taking an initial dose or later during treatment.

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Discussion Comments
By anon997814 — On Mar 04, 2017

Why do doctors instantly diagnose a patient of having high blood pressure when taking Lisinopril for organ protection with diabetes?

I am getting pretty tired of hearing that I have high blood pressure just because I'm taking Lisinopril for my organs. My blood pressure was at about 127 over 75 when they put me on lisinopril and told me it was to protect my organs with diabetes.

I don't want to stop taking Lisinopril just to prove to the doctors that I do not have high blood pressure, but is that what I have to do to prove that I do not have high blood pressure?

By ysmina — On Aug 23, 2013

I have diabetes too and I was prescribed lisinopril last month. But I couldn't take it for more than two weeks because the side effects were debilitating. I couldn't stand the constant hacking cough it gave me.

By bluedolphin — On Aug 22, 2013

@feruze-- What does your doctor say?

Whether you should be on lisinopril or not is a decision you have to make with your doctor. I agree with you that it can be confusing because different doctors have a different stand when it comes to lisinopril.

Some doctors only prescribe lisinopril if a diabetic has higher than normal A1c test results (the 3-month blood sugar test) despite being on medications and a diabetic diet. Other doctors put their patients on lisinopril as a precautionary measure even though their blood sugar levels are currently normal.

I recommend doing your own share of research on lisinopril and its advantages and disadvantages for diabetics. I personally think that it's a good medication for people who can't seem to lower their blood sugar levels and for diabetics who also suffer from high blood pressure. Technically, this drug is probably not necessary unless your kidney function test results are off. But I'm not a doctor, so please don't go by what I say. Speak to your doctor and read about it.

By bear78 — On Aug 22, 2013

I have diabetes but it's under control with anti-diabetic medications. Do I need lisinopril?

I'm not sure why lisinopril would be necessary for diabetics who are diagnosed because after diagnosis, blood sugar levels should be in normal range anyway.

Can anyone explain?

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