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Aldosterone: the hormone we never knew we had

Posted Nov 12 2008 12:00am
Aldosterone is being over produced in my left adrenal. I had no idea what it was until I was diagnosed with this disease back in July. Wanting to learn as much as I could about this weirdly named hormone, I did some research to find out what its role was in my adrenals and what happens when too much of it is being produced.

The definition:
Aldosterone is a hormone released by the adrenal glands. It regulates the levels of sodium and potassium in the body, which in turn helps control blood pressure, the distribution of fluids, and the balance of electrolytes in the blood. Aldosterone is the main sodium retaining hormone from the adrenal gland. It increases the re-absorption of sodium and water along with the excretion of potassium in the distal tubules of the kidneys. Pathologically elevated aldosterone secretion with excessive retention of salt and water often results in the raising of blood pressure. High levels of aldosterone can cause a condition called aldosteronism or hyperaldosteronism, also known as Conn's Syndrome.

If a tumor is present, a test will show that aldosterone levels are high, while a renin level will be low. Usually a renin activity test is done when the aldosterone level is measured.
Aldosterone levels may vary between males and females, and can be dependent on the amount of salt in a person's diet. In pregnant women, normal aldosterone values may be 2 to 3 times higher than in women who are not pregnant. Normal aldosterone levels in infants and children may be significantly higher than those of adults.
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