Aldosterone (ALD) is one of a group of connected hormones. They form the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system; this system is activated when there is a decrease in blood flow to your kidneys following a drop in blood volume or blood pressure such as during heavy bleeding, or sodium levels fall below healthy levels.
Aldosterone is a mineralocorticoid, which means that it adjusts the mineral levels in our cells, particularly sodium and potassium. It regulates both fluid levels and blood pressure in the body. Stress is a factor that can increase the release of aldosterone and cause sodium levels to rise. Regardless why, an increase in aldosterone results in edema (water retention) and high blood pressure.
Someone experiencing high aldosterone levels may also experience :
- Low potassium levels (causing muscle cramps)
- Abnormally increased blood volume
- Unusually alkaline blood (because aldosterone promotes acid secretion)
People experiencing high blood pressure and edema may be advised to check their aldosterone level with an aldosterone (ALD) test. When the level of this hormone is too high, it can cause damage to the cardiovascular system. If levels are too high, medicines can be prescribed that will lower aldosterone to healthy levels.