Aldosterone Test

What is an Aldosterone Test?

An aldosterone test measures the level of aldosterone, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, in the blood. Aldosterone helps regulate salt and water balance in the body. It also helps regulate blood pressure. Too much or too little aldosterone can cause problems. Measuring the levels of aldosterone can help diagnose and monitor adrenal gland disorders.

Why is the Aldosterone Test done?

Aldosterone tests may be requested to help diagnose problems with your adrenal glands, which are located on top of your kidneys. The adrenal glands play a role in many processes in your body, including:

  • fluid and electrolyte balance
  • metabolism
  • blood pressure control
  • response to stress

Aldosterone test results can also be used to help diagnose disorders such as Addison’s disease or Conn’s syndrome. Addison’s disease is a disorder caused by the adrenal glands not producing enough hormones. Conn’s syndrome is a disorder characterized by too much aldosterone production by the adrenal glands.

What are the Types of Aldosterone Tests?

The most common aldosterone test is the plasma renin activity (PRA) test. This test measures the activity of the enzyme renin, which helps control aldosterone production. The test can help distinguish between primary and secondary forms of aldosterone-producing disorders, known as hyperaldosteronism. Primary hyperaldosteronism means the tumor of the adrenal gland is producing too much aldosterone. Secondary hyperaldosteronism is when the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system gets out of balance, causing increased aldosterone production.

Another common aldosterone test is the aldosterone-renin ratio (ARR) test. This test involves measuring the levels of both hormones, aldosterone and renin. The ratio of the two hormones helps doctors understand how well the adrenal glands are functioning. It can help distinguish between different forms of hyperaldosteronism.

A third type of aldosterone test is the direct aldosterone test. This test measures the amount of aldosterone in the blood and is usually done in conjunction with other tests, such as the PRA or ARR test.

What is the Preparation for Aldosterone Testing?

Your doctor may ask you to restrict or avoid certain foods or medications that could alter your results. You should also tell your doctor about all medications and supplements you are taking, as some of these can affect your aldosterone levels. People who are taking diuretics (water pills) for high blood pressure may need to stop taking them for a period of time before the aldosterone test.

What are the Risks of Aldosterone Testing?

Aldosterone testing is a safe procedure with very few risks. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded during the test, tell your doctor. This could be due to the needles used to draw blood. You may have some slight bruising or pain in the area where the needle was inserted.

When is Aldosterone Testing Done?

Aldosterone testing is usually done when your doctor suspects an adrenal gland disorder, such as Addison’s disease or Conn’s syndrome. It may also be done to monitor the effectiveness of treatments for adrenal gland disorders. Your doctor may recommend aldosterone testing if you have high blood pressure that is not responding to other treatments or if you have symptoms of an adrenal gland disorder.