Aldosterone is a hormone produced by the adrenal cortex of then adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys. This hormone plays a crucial role in the way the kidneys maintain fluid levels in the body. Aldosterone is actually the principle hormone in a group of mineralocorticoids. The release of this hormone is partly regulated by corticotrophin, which is another hormone released by the pituitary gland. These releases influence the kidneys to reguĀ¬late levels of sodium and potasĀ¬sium in your circulatory system. Sodium and potassium have a major impact on blood pressure. This means that aldosterone plays a critical role in controlling blood pressure and the amount of electrolytes in the body.

When the adrenal glands produce sufficient amounts of aldosterone the kidneys will retain the proper balance of sodium and potassium. This hormone also affects the sweat glands and helps the body to preserve salt. When an insufficient amount of aldosterone hormone is present the kidneys will release too much potassium which will result in low blood pressure. When too much aldosterone is in the body the result will be high blood pressure because too much sodium is retained.

Diabetics often have low levels of aldersterone. This is because the hormone is also responsible for controlling blood sugar levels and has a direct affect on insulin. This hormone also has an influence on sexual development and the way you react to stress. Various other diseases are associated when this hormone is insufficiently produced by the adrenal glands. Another hormone called rennin is produced in the kidneys and affects the release of aldosterone. When blood tests are done the rennin levels are usually compared aldosterone levels when diagnosing heart failure, kidney disease and certain other conditions that are associated with high potassium levels.

A simple blood test is done to measure aldosterone levels. There is also a urine test that can be done for it too. Before the blood test is done the person may be asked to eat a certain kind of diet for two weeks before the test is to be done. People who are taking certain medications for high blood pressure and hormone supplements may be told to stop taking them prior to the test to get an accurate reading on the amount of aldersterone in the blood. Normal levels can vary depending on sex. Pregnant women normally have higher levels.

Fatigue, dizziness and weakness are some of the symptoms of aldersterone deficiency. Dizziness occurs upon standing. The symptoms normally develop over time and can be in intensified by low blood pressure. The person will also experience excessive urination and dehydration when there is not enough aldosterone being produced by the adrenal glands. This is due to the low sodium levels and high potassium in the blood caused by not enough aldersterone. Low aldersterone is called hypoaldersteronism.

Hyperaldosteronism is the term for high levels of this hormone. It is usually caused by a non cancerous tumor on the adrenal gland. The treatment option in this case is usually removal of the tumor or drugs that block aldersterone. Hyperaldosteronism is one of the known causes for high blood pressure. Once the tumor is removed blood pressure returns to normal. The person may also experience weakness and tingling in the extremities in the case of hyperaldosteronism. Rare cases of paralysis have also been associated when hyperaldosteronism is present as well. Muscle cramps and muscle weakness are also symptoms people with high levels will experience. To be adequately diagnosed you must see your doctor for blood tests. Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also be done along with the blood tests.

Last updated on Feb 3rd, 2011 and filed under Endocrine System. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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