Aldosterone, what it is and why it is important?
Aldosterone is a hormone produced and released from the adrenal glands above the kidneys. Its role is to increase the reabsorption of sodium ions from the loop of Henle and Distal tubule to conserve sodium in the blood and body fluids. When sodium ions enter the blood from the distal tubule, water follows by osmosis, which increases blood volume and blood pressure. If there is an increased blood volume and blood pressure from high salt concentrations, the output of aldosterone is reduced so less salt and water is reabsorbed and more is lost in urine. Aldosterone is therefore not only important in maintaining a balance of salt concentrations in the blood and bodily fluids but also helps to maintain blood pressure and blood volume.
What happens if there is a deficiency in aldosterone
People with deficiencies in Aldosterone typically suffer from Addisons disease which is the inability for the adrenal cortex to produce sufficient amounts of hormones. Their kidneys are excreting too much salt which leads to low blood pressure, low blood volume, a high pulse and/or palpitations, dizziness and or lightheadedness when they stand, fatigue. Other symptoms include frequent urination, sweating, feeling of thirst. How hormone replacement therapy assists people who cannot secrete aldosterone A hormone called Fludrocortisone (Florinef) is used to treat this condition. This is taken orally once or twice a day along with an increased salt intake in their diet. This helps the body to retain more salt and so ensure that blood pressure and blood flow are stable.
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