Blood Health

Angiotensin-1-Converting Enzyme

Optimal Result: 9 - 67 U/L.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is an enzyme that helps regulate blood pressure.

An increased blood level of ACE is sometimes found in sarcoidosis, a systemic disorder of unknown cause that often affects the lungs but may also affect many other body organs, including the eyes, skin, nerves, liver, and heart.

A classic feature of sarcoidosis is the development of granulomas, small tumor-like masses of immune and inflammatory cells and fibrous tissue that form nodules under the skin and in organs throughout the body. Granulomas change the structure of the tissues around them and, in sufficient numbers, they can cause damage and inflammation and may interfere with normal functions. The cells found at the outside borders of granulomas can produce increased amounts of ACE. The level of ACE in the blood may increase when sarcoidosis-related granulomas develop.

What does it mean if your Angiotensin-1-Converting Enzyme result is too low?

High and low levels of ACE may be seen in a variety of conditions other than sarcoidosis. The ACE test, however, is not routinely used to diagnose or monitor these conditions; it has not been shown to be clinically useful.

Decreased ACE levels may be seen in people with:

- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Lung diseases such as emphysema, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis
- Starvation
- Steroid drug therapy
- Hypothyroidism

What does it mean if your Angiotensin-1-Converting Enzyme result is too high?

Your Angiotensin-1-Converting Enzyme (ACE) levels may be higher if you have a condition called sarcoidosis. In sarcoidosis, small abnormal knots of immune cells called granulomas form in various parts of the body. The most common place is in the lungs. These knots of cells may cause health problems. Granulomas can also form in other conditions, so you may need other tests to figure out the exact cause.

Symptoms may include:

- Cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath

- Fever

- Extreme tiredness

- Chest pain

- Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite

- Sore or stiff joints

- Eyesight problems

- Dry mouth

- Headache

- Unusual skin changes, including sores, rashes, or hardened spots

Other conditions that may cause higher levels of ACE include:

- Primary biliary cirrhosis

- Alcoholic liver disease

- Hyperparathyroidism

- Hyperthyroidism

- Diabetes

- Multiple myeloma

- Lung disease

- Amyloidosis

- Gaucher disease

- Leprosy

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