Friday, December 7, 2012
Increased levels of the hormone aldosterone in young black males correlate with an unhealthy chain of events that starts with retaining too much salt and results in an enlarged heart muscle
Physicians may want to reach for aldosterone inhibitors early in their effort to control blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risk in young black males. Studies of a cohort of 191 healthy black and white 15- to 19-year-olds showed that only in the black males was higher aldosterone associated with impaired sodium excretion, increased blood pressure and enlargement of the left pumping chamber of the heart. Increased sodium makes the body hold onto more fluid, which increases blood pressure. Unhealthy enlargement of the pumping chamber of the heart, called left ventricular hypertrophy, results from the heart having to work too hard against high blood pressures to push blood and oxygen out to the body. Studies have shown that black males particularly have a problem with blood pressure returning to normal following stress because of an impaired ability to eliminate sodium.