Antidiuretic hormone or ADH is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus and released by the pituitary gland. Its main job is to help the kidneys maintain fluid levels and control blood pressure. This involves the regulation of blood volume and blood concentration.
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at risk for high blood pressure.
ADH, also known as vasopressin, promotes smooth muscle contraction in the blood vessels, keeping the body hydrated and helps prevent dehydration.
ADH secretion is activated when special cells in the brain or heart detect changes in blood or blood pressure concentrations.
Once released, ADH enters the kidneys, where it signals specific cells to reabsorb water in the kidneys, preventing water loss through urination. This increases blood volume and blood pressure.
Altered ADH levels
Certain medical conditions or medications can change your ADH levels, which can lead to health problems.
High ADH levels, which can lead to fluid retention, can be a side effect of some medications, or they can be caused by diseases or tumors in the lungs, hypothalamus, or pituitary gland.
A condition called syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) produces excess ADH release when it is not needed.
Drinking alcohol inhibits the release of ADH, leading to increased urine output and dehydration.
Symptoms of low blood sodium levels that can be caused by an ADH imbalance include nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, confusion, and convulsions.
Test for ADH
Your doctor may order an ADH test for you if you are thirsty, frequent or dehydrated, or have abnormal blood sodium levels. This test may also be called AVP or arginine vasopressin.
However, accurately measuring ADH can be tricky because it is a very small molecule with a short half-life. Health care professionals sometimes use copeptin as an alternative to ADH. Copeptin has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease and can be used to identify early heart attacks.
ADH and heart disease
A study published in Journal of Ovarian Research Women with PCOS were found to have higher levels of copeptin than women without the condition. They found an association between higher copeptin levels and fasting insulin, testosterone and atherosclerosis levels. This may suggest that copeptin plays a role in the development of atherosclerosis in this population, but more research is needed to prove this.
Another study found that in women with PCOS, obese patients had higher levels of copeptin than normal-weight patients.
There are several conditions associated with PCOS, such as high blood pressure, depression, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and more. Researchers are looking for answers about why these related disorders occur and how to treat them. ADH may play a role in hypertension and PCOS, and more research may help clarify this relationship.