Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a very serious condition that can affect all areas of the body including the heart, brain, eyes, and kidneys. The problem is that high blood pressure often goes symptomless until a more serious condition arises. That’s why it’s important to not only check your blood pressure regularly, but also adhere to a healthy lifestyle to prevent high blood pressure from occurring.
Common causes of high blood pressure include eating a high sodium diet, being overweight, smoking, sleep apnea, and stress. But there is a cause of high blood pressure that’s often overlooked, and many people aren’t even aware of it.
Aldosterone is a hormone found in the body that is responsible for balancing sodium, potassium, and water. The adrenals are responsible for the production and release of aldosterone.
Normal levels of aldosterone in the body ensure a perfect balance between sodium, water, and potassium. But too low (or high) levels leads to an imbalance that can trigger problems. For example, high levels of aldosterone cause the kidneys to store more sodium and water but flush out potassium. This extra fluid then enters the bloodstream and causes the heart to be overworked, resulting in hypertension.
A large Italian study uncovered that five in 100 hypertension cases were a result of aldosteronism. Among those with resistant hypertension – high blood pressure that doesn’t respond well to treatment – aldosteronism was attributed to 20 out of 100 cases. There is also growing evidence that aldosteronism is contributed to heart disease.
Aside from triggering high blood pressure, high levels of aldosterone have been attributed to inflammation of the blood vessels, a reduced production of nitric oxide, and dulled activity of baroreceptors.
Doctor’s don’t often test for aldosteronism, but if they’re having a difficult time diagnosing and treating a patient’s hypertension, then aldosterone should be tested.
- Primary aldosteronism: Causes, symptoms, and treatment
- Surprising causes of high blood pressure, simple strategies to manage hypertension