Hormones, Hypertension and Diabetes

Hypertension and diabetes and the scourge of millions of American adults. In most cases, these chronic conditions result from poor dietary and lifestyle choices. If a new report is to be believed, a certain hormone might also impact your risk of not only hypertension, but diabetes as well.

A Nationwide Study

The hormone in question is known as aldosterone, and is released by the adrenal gland (for those who don’t remember high school biology, your two adrenal glands are located on the tops of your kidneys). This study in question, conducted by the Ohio State University’s College of Medicine, recruited nearly 1,600 participants. The subjects resided in six separate communities in the United States, and ranged in age from 45 to 84.

The study’s participants came from a wide range of backgrounds, as shown by the demographic breakdown below:

  • 44 percent non-Hispanic white
  • 24 percent African Americans
  • 13 percent Chinese Americans
  • 24 percent Hispanic Americans

Gauging Risk

Overall, the authors found that higher aldosterone levels correlated with type 2 diabetes risk; compared to those with low aldosterone levels, subjects with the highest aldosterone reads were over twice as likely to become diabetic. This relationship was even more pronounced among Chinese-Americans and African-Americans; for the latter, high aldosterone was found to triple diabetes risk. For the former, the authors found a 10 fold risk increase.

“We’ve known for some time that it increases blood pressure,” stated Dr. Joshua J. Joseph, the report’s senior author. “We’ve recently learned it also increases insulin resistance in muscle and impairs insulin secretion from the pancreas. Both actions increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but the question was — how much.”

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