Aug. 2 (UPI) — A recent study by the Medical College of Georgia found that medications to block the hormone aldosterone may greatly benefit hypertensive women.

Aldosterone is a hormone more abundant in women than men, however, high levels of aldosterone can cause damage to the cardiovascular system. However, obesity and diabetes can make levels of aldosterone skyrocket and can be a major driver of hypertension.

“We are finding more evidence that higher aldosterone levels in women translate to higher blood pressure and that the most effective way to treat hypertensive women likely is to target this hormone and its receptor,” Dr. Eric Belin de Chantemele, physiologist in the Vascular Biology Center and associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, said in a press release.

Belin de Chantemele began studying aldosterone five years ago in mice that were hypersensitive to the satiety hormone leptin.

“What we observed is that their aldosterone level was sky high,” Belin de Chantemele said.

While aldosterone also has a positive role in regulating blood pressure, high levels of the steroid hormone are associated with adverse affects on the cardiovascular system like inflammation and blood vessel stiffness and scarring.

The study, which was presented this week at the 38th World Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences, shows that drugs to block aldosterone may benefit women with hypertension.

Belin de Chantemele suggests that if aldosterone levels are high, doctors should prescribe drugs designed to directly target the hormone’s receptor.

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