What are mineralocorticoids
Mineralocorticoids are corticosteroid hormones. Mineralocorticoids are synthesized in the adrenal cortex located at the top of each kidney and influence salt and water balances (electrolyte balance and fluid balance). Aldosterone, the main mineralocorticoid, is necessary for regulation of salt and water in your body. It increases sodium re-absorption by an action on the distal tubules of the kidney.
Mineralocorticoid aldosterone is a hormone that plays an important role in maintaining normal sodium and potassium concentrations in blood and in controlling blood volume and blood pressure. Aldosterone increases sodium re-absorption by an action on the distal tubules of the kidney. Renin is an enzyme that controls aldosterone production.
Aldosterone is produced by the adrenal glands located at the top of each kidney, in their outer portion (called the adrenal cortex). Aldosterone stimulates the retention of sodium (salt) and the elimination of potassium by the kidneys. Renin is produced by the kidneys and controls the activation of the hormone angiotensin, which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce aldosterone.
The kidneys release renin when there is a drop in blood pressure or a decrease in sodium chloride concentration in the tubules in the kidney. Renin cleaves the blood protein angiotensinogen to form angiotensin 1, which is then converted by a second enzyme to angiotensin 2. Angiotensin 2 causes blood vessels to constrict, and it stimulates aldosterone production. Overall, this raises blood pressure and keeps sodium and potassium at normal levels.
A variety of conditions can lead to aldosterone overproduction (hyperaldosteronism, usually just called aldosteronism) or underproduction (hypoaldosteronism). Since renin and aldosterone are so closely related, both substances are often tested together to identify the cause of an abnormal aldosterone.
List of mineralocorticoids
Fludrocortisone, a mineralocorticoid, is used to help control the amount of sodium and fluids in your body. Fludrocortisone is used to treat Addison’s disease and syndromes where excessive amounts of sodium are lost in the urine. Fludrocortisone works by decreasing the amount of sodium that is lost (excreted) in your urine.
Fludrocortisone is also used to increase blood pressure.
Fludrocortisone comes as a tablet to be taken by mouth. Your doctor will prescribe a dosing schedule that is best for you. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take fludrocortisone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not stop taking fludrocortisone without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug abruptly can cause loss of appetite, an upset stomach, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, headache, fever, joint and muscle pain, peeling skin, and weight loss. If you take large doses for a long time, your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually to allow your body to adjust before stopping the drug completely. Watch for these side effects if you are gradually decreasing your dose and after you stop taking the tablets. If these problems occur, call your doctor immediately. You may need to increase your dose temporarily or start taking the tablets again.
Mineralocorticoids side effects
Fludrocortisone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- stomach irritation
- increased hair growth
- easy bruising
- irregular or absent menstrual periods
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- skin rash
- swollen face, lower legs, or ankles
- vision problems
- cold or infection that lasts a long time
- muscle weakness
- black or tarry stool.