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An aldosterone (ALD) test measures the amount of ALD in your blood. It’s also called a serum aldosterone test. ALD is a hormone made by the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are found on top of your kidneys and are responsible for producing several important hormones. ALD affects blood pressure and also regulates sodium (salt) and potassium in your blood, among other functions.
Too much ALD can contribute to high blood pressure and low potassium levels. It’s known as hyperaldosteronism when your body makes too much ALD. Primary hyperaldosteronism could be caused by an adrenal tumor (usually benign, or noncancerous). Meanwhile, secondary hyperaldosteronism could be caused by a variety of conditions. These include:
An ALD test is often used to diagnose fluid and electrolyte disorders. These may be caused by:
The test can also help diagnose:
Your doctor may ask you to have this test at a certain time of day. The timing is important, as ALD levels vary throughout the day. Levels are highest in the morning. Your doctor may also ask you to:
A number of medications can affect ALD. Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking. This includes supplements and over-the-counter drugs. Your doctor will tell you if you need to stop or change any medications before this test.
Medications that can affect ALD include:
ALD testing requires a blood sample. The blood sample can be taken in your doctor’s office or it can be performed in a lab.
First, an area on your arm or hand will be disinfected. An elastic band will be wrapped around your upper arm to make blood collect in the vein. A small needle will be inserted into your vein and this may be slightly to moderately painful. It may cause a stinging or pricking sensation. Blood will be collected in one or more tubes.
The elastic bland and the needle will then be removed and pressure will be applied to the puncture to stop bleeding. This also helps prevent bruising. A bandage will be applied. The puncture site may continue to throb, but this goes away within a few minutes for most people.
The risks of having your blood drawn are low. It’s considered a non-invasive medical test. Possible risks of having your blood drawn include:
Your doctor will review the information collected by the test. They’ll reach out to you at a later date to discuss your results.
High levels of ALD are called hyperaldosteronism. This can increase blood sodium and lower blood potassium. Hyperaldosteronism can be caused by:
Low ALD levels are called hypoaldosteronism. Symptoms of this condition include:
Hypoaldosteronism can be caused by:
Once your doctor has reviewed your results with you, they may order other tests to help diagnose the over-production or under-production of ALD. These tests include:
These tests will help you and your doctor learn more about what’s causing the issue with your ALD. This will help your doctor find a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan.
Written by: Janelle Martel
Medically reviewed on: Jan 19, 2016: Steve Kim, MD
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