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High hormone levels put young black males at risk for cardiovascular disease
Date:12/7/2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. 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, researchers say.

The findings indicate physicians may want to reach for aldosterone inhibitors early in their effort to control blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risk in young black males.

Their 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, said Dr. Gregory A. Harshfield, hypertension researcher at the Medical College of Georgia and Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Georgia Health Sciences University.

"It's a clear pathway and is consistent with the idea that is the highest risk group for developing earlier and more severe cases of hypertension," Harshfield said. 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. Harshfield's 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.

"It might be a good idea to consider early on drugs that target aldosterone in these individuals," said Diana G. Murro, a fourth-year student at MCG and first author of the study in the journal Pediatric Nephrology. While aldosterone inhibitors are used to treat refractory hypertension, they typically are not used in blacks, possibly because they haven't been well studied in that population, Harshfield said.

The steroid hormone aldosterone,
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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