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Aldosterone in Urine

How It Feels

There is no pain while collecting a 24-hour urine sample.

Risks

There is no chance for problems while collecting a 24-hour urine sample.

Results

An aldosterone test measures the level of aldosterone (a hormone made by the adrenal glands) in the urine.

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Aldosterone in a 24-hour urine sample1
Normal:

2–26 micrograms (mcg) or 6–72 nanomoles (nmol)

High values

High aldosterone levels can be caused by:

  • A tumor in the adrenal glands (Conn's syndrome).
  • Heart failure.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Liver disease.
  • A condition during pregnancy that causes high blood pressure (preeclampsia).
  • Some medicines that are used treat high blood pressure.

Symptoms of high aldosterone include high blood pressure, muscle cramps and weakness, numbness or tingling in the hands, and low levels of potassium in the blood.

Low values

Low aldosterone levels can be caused by:

  • Addison's disease.
  • Kidney disease. such as the types of kidney disease seen in people who also have diabetes.
  • Heparin treatment. Heparin is a medicine that helps prevent blood clots. It is given as a shot.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Eating large amounts of natural black licorice.
  • Pregnancy. Aldosterone levels may be high in the third trimester of pregnancy.
  • Taking medicines, such as female hormones (progesterone and estrogen), corticosteroids, heparin, opiates, laxatives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or diuretics. Most medicines used to treat high blood pressure, especially spironolactone (Aldactone), eplerenone (Inspra), and beta-blockers, increase blood levels of aldosterone and renin.
  • Exercising hard or being under emotional stress.
  • Your age. Aldosterone levels normally decrease with age.

What To Think About

  • The kidney hormone renin normally controls how much aldosterone is released by the adrenal glands. Usually a renin activity test is done when the aldosterone level is measured. To learn more, see the topic Renin.
  • Aldosterone is more commonly measured in a blood test. To learn more, see the topic Aldosterone in Blood.
  • If you have overactive adrenal glands or an abnormal adrenal growth, potassium levels may also be tested. To learn more, see the topic Potassium (K) in Blood.

Citations

  1. Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

Other Works Consulted

  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (2006). Medical guidelines for clinical practice for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension. Endocrine Practice, 12(2): 195–222.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 20, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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