Test Details & Preparation
An ACE levels test is performed to determine the level of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) in an individual’s blood. ACE is an enzyme that converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II, a naturally occurring process that your body undergoes to regulate blood pressure. Angiotensin I by itself is inactive, but when converted to angiotensin II, it causes blood vessels to narrow, which increases blood pressure throughout the body.
There is no set number for a healthy ACE level because it can vary by age and the testing method used by different laboratories. As a rule of thumb, adults over the age of 20 have ACE levels below 40 micrograms/L. People under the age of 20 generally have higher ACE levels.
The primary reason doctors use an ACE levels test is to identify and monitor sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis involves the development of small clumps of inflamed cells, most commonly affecting the eyes, lungs, lymph nodes, and skin. The condition often goes away on its own but for some remains chronic. An ACE test may also be used to detect or rule out Gaucher’s disease, a genetic disease in which fatty lipids accumulate in cells. Other conditions that affect ACE levels include anorexia alcoholic hepatitis asbestosis asthma chronic liver disease diabetes emphysema hyperthyroidism hypothyroidism etc.
An ACE levels test requires no preparation other than wearing clothing loose enough to roll up your sleeve. Your doctor may instruct you to fast for up to 12 hours before the test. You may also be instructed to stop taking any kind of steroid therapy, as steroids increase the levels of ACE in the blood. The test results are not immediate, so expect to discuss the results at a follow-up appointment with your doctor.