According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30 million Americans live with diabetes, and the numbers continue to climb.
Ohio State University researchers think targeting a certain hormone may be a key part of preventing the disease. Mike Foley reports.
Aldosterone has been tied to high blood pressure, but a new study finds increased levels of the hormone also contribute to diabetes. Researchers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center followed 1,600 people for ten years. They found the risk of developing type 2 diabetes more than doubled for people who had higher levels of aldosterone. Lead researcher Dr. Joshua Joseph says certain ethnicities face an even greater threat.
“Among African Americans, there was almost a three-fold increase in risk of diabetes over ten years,” Joseph said. “Among Asian Americans or Chinese Americans specifically in this study, there was a ten-fold increase. For many years, we’ve been trying to understand the link between hypertension and diabetes. Aldosterone provides one potential clue in that link. In the future, I believe that this research with lowering aldosterone levels will help to prevent diabetes.”
Dr. Joseph will soon lead a federally-funded clinical trial at Ohio State with a focus on African Americans who have prediabetes. Participants will take medication to lower their aldosterone levels, and researchers will monitor the impact on glucose and insulin levels. The hope is that when combined with a healthy diet and exercise routine, those at risk can avoid diabetes and the many health issues associated with it. Joseph expects to begin enrolling patients in the trial later this year.