In a study from The Ohio State University, scientists found that increased levels of the hormone aldosterone, already associated with high blood pressure, can play a significant role in the development of diabetes.
This research is an important step toward finding new ways to prevent major chronic diseases.
Aldosterone is produced by the adrenal gland. We’ve known for some time that it increases blood pressure.
Scientists have 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?
In the study, the team followed 1,600 people across diverse populations for 10 years as part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
They found, overall, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes more than doubled for people who had higher levels of aldosterone, compared to participants with lower levels of the hormone.
In certain ethnicities, the effect was even greater. African Americans with high aldosterone levels have almost a three-fold increased risk. Chinese Americans with high aldosterone are 10 times more likely to develop diabetes.
One question that remains is why there are wide differences in risk among various ethnic groups. The team said it could be genetics or differences in salt sensitivity or something else, and it needs further study.
Just over 30 million Americans have diabetes and nearly a fourth of them don’t know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another one in three Americans has prediabetes.
Despite current preventive efforts, the numbers continue to climb among various racial/ethnic groups.
The team says there’s a relationship between aldosterone and type 2 diabetes. Now they need to determine thresholds that will guide clinical care and the best medication for treatment.
He expects to start enrolling patients in that trial later this year.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies about a critical trigger for type 2 diabetes, and
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about why people with high blood pressure more likely to have severe COVID-19, and results showing when it comes to accurate blood pressure readings, cuff size matters.
The study was conducted by Dr. K. Craig Kent et al and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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