Aldosterone is a hormone produced on the outside or cortex of the adrenal glands which are located above the kidneys. Aldosterone plays an important role in blood pressure regulation, especially by acting on organs such as the kidneys and large intestine to increase the amount of salt (sodium) that is reabsorbed into the bloodstream and to increase the amount of potassium excreted in the urine. Aldosterone also causes water to be reabsorbed with sodium; this increases blood volume as well as blood pressure.
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms or warning signs. High blood pressure can harm your blood vessels, heart, brain, eyes, and kidneys. A combination of unhealthy habits, such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise can contribute to an increase in blood pressure.
Purposes of Aldosterone Test
An aldosterone test is used to check the levels of the hormone aldosterone in your body. Aldosterone is the main regulator of sodium and potassium in the body. Your body needs aldosterone to hold sodium and water to maintain blood pressure levels. However, too much aldosterone can make the kidneys store too much sodium and water. That extra fluid then ends up in the bloodstream — causing an increase in blood pressure.
If you have high levels of aldosterone, the condition is known as hyperaldosteronism. Hyperaldosteronism is usually caused by a small, benign tumor in the adrenal glands. Hyperaldosteronism can cause high blood pressure, low potassium levels and an abnormal blood volume due to effect from the hormones.
Another possibility is low aldosterone levels — which is a disease that may arise from low levels of aldosterone is primary adrenal insufficiency. This may lead to a generalized loss of adrenal function. Patients whose primary adrenal insufficiency is caused by low aldosterone levels may experience low blood pressure, increased potassium levels, and extreme fatigue.
Genetic mutations may also affect aldosterone production. Patients with this rare genetic disorder will experience similar symptoms to primary adrenal insufficiency. Though the symptoms are usually subtle.
Who Needs an Aldosterone Test?
Lack and excess of the hormone aldosterone can cause numerous health problems. During treatment, it is important for patients to always monitor aldosterone levels in order to maintain blood pressure. However, some people have medical conditions that cause abnormal aldosterone levels.
Conn’s syndrome is also known as primary hyperaldosteronism. Conn’s syndrome occurs when your body produces too much aldosterone. This condition can also cause high blood pressure and low potassium levels. Conn’s syndrome usually results from the formation of a small, benign tumor in the adrenal glands — which is responsible for aldosterone production.
When your body does not produce enough of the hormone cortisol, then your body is lacking aldosterone. As a result, you may experience low blood pressure, increased potassium levels and extreme fatigue. Addison’s disease may occur due to damaged adrenal glands.
Organ failure may also affect the function of other organs. Secondary aldosteronism can occur when the body produces more aldosterone in response to when there are problems with your iver, heart, or kidneys. Secondary aldosteronism may lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, low potassium levels and fluid buildup in the body.
Cost Estimation for Aldosterone Test
The cost for an aldosterone test depends on the hospital or clinic that provides the procedure. Each hospital and clinic usually offers a variety of service packages based on your diagnostic needs as well as your financial ability.
For more details regarding the cost for aldosterone test, please contact Smarter Health.
In general, no special preparation is required for an aldosterone test procedure. However, you still need to handle administrative arrangements
- You need to make an appointment with your doctor for an aldosterone test procedure.
- Inform your doctor about your medical history. Aldosterone is one of the several causes of abnormal blood pressure levels
- If you have done an aldosterone test before at a different hospital, you need to provide information on the test results and the time of the test to identify your condition
During Aldosterone Test
An aldosterone test is similar to any regular blood tests. Your doctor or nurse will draw blood from a vein — usually your elbow or on the back of the hand.
First, your doctor will clean the skin over the vein with an antiseptic. Next, your doctor puts an elastic band around the arm that blocks the blood flow — causing your blood vessels to slightly protrude. Then, your doctor will insert a small needle into your vein and store your blood sample in a sterile bottle.
After your blood is taken as a sample, your doctor will remove the elastic band around your arm and ask you to apply pressure to the puncture site with gauze. You may also use a tape or bandage to hold the gauze over the injection site. The process usually takes less than five minutes.
Understanding Your Aldosterone Test Results
When you receive your test results, your doctor will explain your diagnosis and the test results. Typical test results are usually as follows:
- If the results show high aldosterone levels, low renin levels and normal cortisol levels, you may be diagnosed with Conn’s Syndrome or hyperaldosteronism.
- If the results show high levels of aldosterone and high levels of renin, you may have secondary aldosteronism.
- If the aldosterone and cortisol levels are lower than normal, and the renin levels are high, you may be diagnosed with Addison’s disease.
- If the aldosterone and renin levels are low and the cortisol levels are high, you may be diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome.
Risks of Aldosterone Test
Aldosterone test is a low-risk test. However, there are a few possible complications from the blood-taking process:
- Excessive bleeding
- Bruising or infection at the puncture site
An aldosterone test can help your doctor analyze aldosterone levels in your body — which can help measure your blood pressure level.