Physician-researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine have discovered that persons with higher levels of aldosterone associated with hypertension play an important role in the development of diabetes. This effect is very prominent in particular ethnic groups when compared to others. The finding is a major step forward in the elimination of diabetes. The hormone aldosterone is produced by the adrenal gland. It has long been known that aldosterone increases blood pressure. However, it was recently established that increased levels of the hormone leads to insulin resistance and also prevents the secretion of Insulin from the pancreas. Both of these mechanisms increases the risk of the development of Type-2 diabetes.
Coming to the current research Dr Joshua. J.Joseph, an endocrinologist at the Wexner medical centre and his team are following around 1600 people across diverse populations. The study was carried out for a period of 10 years as part of a Multi-ethnic study of Atherosclerosis. The risk of development of Type 2 Diabetes was double in people with higher levels of Aldosterone when compared to the people with low levels of the hormone. Interestingly the rate of risk varied across different ethnic groups. African Americans with high aldosterone levels have a three-fold risk for the development of Type-2 diabetes. On the contrary, the risk increased to ten fold in Chinese Americans with high aldosterone levels.
The research has been a major step forward in establishing new ways for the prevention of Type-2 Diabetes. The future research would involve evaluating the role of Aldosterone in Glucose metabolism. It is estimated that more than 30 million Americans are suffering from Type- diabetes. Of this, about one-fourth of them are unaware of the condition according to the Centres for Disease control and prevention.