URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/aldosterone-test/

Aldosterone Test

What is an aldosterone (ALD) test?

This test measures the amount of aldosterone (ALD) in your blood or urine. ALD is a hormone made by your adrenal glands, two small glands located above the kidneys. ALD helps control blood pressure and maintain healthy levels of sodium and potassium. Sodium and potassium are electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that help balance the amount of fluids in your body and keep nerves and muscles working properly. If ALD levels are too high or too low, it can be a sign of a serious health problem.

ALD tests are often combined with tests for renin, a hormone made by the kidneys. Renin signals the adrenal glands to make ALD. The combined tests are sometimes called an aldosterone-renin ratio test or aldosterone-plasma renin activity.

Other names: aldosterone, serum; aldosterone urine

What is it used for?

An aldosterone (ALD) test is most often used to:

  • Help diagnose primary or secondary aldosteronism, disorders that cause the adrenal glands to make too much ALD
  • Help diagnose adrenal insufficiency, a disorder that causes the adrenal glands to not make enough ALD
  • Check for a tumor in the adrenal glands
  • Find the cause of high blood pressure

Why do I need an aldosterone test?

You may need this test if you have symptoms of too much or too little aldosterone (ALD).

Symptoms of too much ALD include:

  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Temporary paralysis
  • Muscle cramps or spasms

Symptoms of too little ALD include:

What happens during an aldosterone test?

Aldosterone (ALD) may be measured in blood or urine.

During a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

The amount of ALD in your blood can change depending on whether you are standing up or lying down. So you may get tested while you are in each of these positions.

For an ALD urine test, your health care provider may ask you to collect all urine during a 24-hour period. Your health care provider or a laboratory professional will give you a container to collect your urine and instructions on how to collect and store your samples. A 24-hour urine sample test generally includes the following steps:

  • Empty your bladder in the morning and flush that urine away. Record the time.
  • For the next 24 hours, save all your urine passed in the container provided.
  • Store your urine container in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice.
  • Return the sample container to your health provider's office or the laboratory as instructed.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You may be asked to stop taking certain medicines for at least two weeks before you get tested.

These include:

  • High blood pressure medicines
  • Heart medicines
  • Hormones, such as estrogen or progesterone
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Antacid and ulcer medicines

You may also be asked to avoid very salty foods for about two weeks before your test. These include chips, pretzels, canned soup, soy sauce, and bacon. Be sure to ask your health care provider if you need to make any changes to your medications and/or diet.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may experience slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

There are no known risks to having a urine test.

What do the results mean?

If your results show you have higher than normal amounts of aldosterone (ALD), it may mean you have:

  • Primary aldosteronism (also known as Conn syndrome). This disorder is caused by a tumor or other problem in the adrenal glands that causes the glands to make too much ALD.
  • Secondary aldosteronism. This happens when a medical condition in another part of the body causes the adrenal glands to make too much ALD. These conditions include high blood pressure and diseases of the heart, liver, and kidneys.
  • Preeclampsia, a type of high blood pressure that affects pregnant women
  • Barter syndrome, a rare birth defect that affects the kidneys' ability to absorb sodium

If your results show you have lower than normal amounts of ALD, it may mean you have:

  • Addison disease, a type of adrenal insufficiency caused by damage or other problem with the adrenal glands. This causes too little ALD to be made.
  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency, a disorder caused by a problem with the pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain. This gland makes hormones that help the adrenal glands work properly. If there are not enough of these pituitary hormones, the adrenal glands won't make enough ALD.

If you are diagnosed with one of these disorders, there are treatments available. Depending on the disorder, your treatment may include medicines, dietary changes, and/or surgery. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about an aldosterone test?

Licorice can affect your test results, so you should not eat licorice for at least two weeks before your test. But only real licorice, which comes from licorice plants, has this effect. Most licorice products sold in the United States don't contain any real licorice. Check the package ingredient label to be sure.

References

  1. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth's Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Aldosterone (Serum, Urine); 33-4 p.
  2. Hormone Health Network [Internet]. Washington D.C.: Endocrine Society; c2019. What is Aldosterone? [cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/hormones/aldosterone
  3. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2019. Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison Disease [updated 2017 Nov 28; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/conditions/adrenal-insufficiency-and-addison-disease
  4. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2019. Aldosterone and Renin [updated 2018 Dec 21; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/aldosterone-and-renin
  5. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2019. Electrolytes [updated 2019 Feb 21; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/electrolytes
  6. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2019. Primary Aldosteronism (Conn Syndrome) [updated 2018 Jun 7; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/conditions/primary-aldosteronism-conn-syndrome
  7. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2019. Glossary: 24-Hour Urine Sample [updated 2017 Jul 10; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/glossary/urine-24
  8. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2019. Primary Aldosteronism: Symptoms and causes; 2018 Mar 3 [cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/primary-aldosteronism/symptoms-causes/syc-20351803
  9. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co. Inc.; c2019. Hyperaldosteronism [cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/hormonal-and-metabolic-disorders/adrenal-gland-disorders/hyperaldosteronism?query=aldosterone
  10. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Blood Tests [cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests
  11. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison's Disease; 2018 Sep [cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/adrenal-insufficiency-addisons-disease/all-content
  12. UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. Gainesville (FL): University of Florida Health; c2019. Aldosterone blood test: Overview [updated 2019 Mar 21; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/aldosterone-blood-test
  13. UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. Gainesville (FL): University of Florida Health; c2019. Hypoaldosteronism - primary and secondary: Overview [updated 2019 Mar 21; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/hyperaldosteronism-primary-and-secondary
  14. UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. Gainesville (FL): University of Florida Health; c2019. 24-hour urinary aldosterone excretion test: Overview [updated 2019 Mar 21; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/24-hour-urinary-aldosterone-excretion-test
  15. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2019. Health Encyclopedia: Aldosterone and Renin [cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=aldosterone_renin_blood
  16. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2019. Health Encyclopedia: Cortisol (Blood) [cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=cortisol_serum
  17. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2019. Health Information: Aldosterone in Blood: How To Prepare [updated 2018 Mar 15; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/aldosterone-in-blood/hw6534.html#hw6543
  18. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2019. Health Information: Aldosterone in Blood: Results [updated 2018 Mar 15; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 8 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/aldosterone-in-blood/hw6534.html#hw6557
  19. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2019. Health Information: Aldosterone in Blood: Test Overview [updated 2018 Mar 15; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/aldosterone-in-blood/hw6534.html#hw6534
  20. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2019. Health Information: Aldosterone in Blood: Why It Is Done [updated 2018 Mar 15; cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/aldosterone-in-blood/hw6534.html#hw6541
  21. Walk-In Lab [Internet]. Walk-In Lab, LLC; c2017. Aldosterone Blood Tests, LC-MS/MS [cited 2019 Mar 21]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.walkinlab.com/labcorp-aldosterone-blood-test.html

The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your health care provider with questions you may have regarding medical conditions or the interpretation of test results.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.