Primary Aldosteronism

What Is Primary Aldosteronism?

Primary aldosteronism (PA) is a condition that occurs when there is too much of the hormone aldosterone in the body. Aldosterone helps regulate the body’s salt and water levels, and plays an important role in blood pressure regulation. Too much of this hormone can cause high blood pressure as well as symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and muscle weakness. Treating primary aldosteronism depends on the cause and severity of symptoms. The goal of treatment is to restore normal blood pressure levels and reduce the amount of aldosterone in the body.

Types of Primary Aldosteronism

There are two main types of primary aldosteronism:

  • Conns syndrome: This is the most common type of primary aldosteronism. It is caused by an adrenal tumor that secretes too much aldosterone. The increased levels of aldosterone lead to high blood pressure and other symptoms.
  • Aldosterone-producing adenoma: This type of primary aldosteronism is also caused by a tumor, but it does not secrete large amounts of aldosterone. Instead, it produces smaller amounts of aldosterone which leads to low potassium levels in the body.

Causes of Primary Aldosteronism

The exact cause of primary aldosteronism is unknown, but there are several possible factors that may contribute to its development. These include:

  • Genetics: Some people may have a genetic disorder that increases their risk of developing primary aldosteronism.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as birth control pills, may cause increased levels of aldosterone.
  • Stress: Stress can cause a release of hormones that can increase aldosterone levels.
  • Injury/surgery: Injury or surgery to the adrenal gland can result in increased levels of aldosterone.

Diagnosis of Primary Aldosteronism

Your doctor will diagnose primary aldosteronism based on your medical history, physical examination, and results of laboratory tests. These tests may include a blood test to measure aldosterone levels, or a urine test to measure electrolyte levels. If your doctor suspects that you may have Conn's syndrome, they may also order a CT scan or MRI to view your adrenal glands.

Treatment of Primary Aldosteronism

The treatment of primary aldosteronism depends on the type and severity of the condition. The goal of treatment is to reduce aldosterone levels and restore normal blood pressure. Treatment may include:

  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications that block the production of aldosterone. These medications may also help to reduce blood pressure.
  • Surgery: If your primary aldosteronism is caused by a tumor, your doctor may recommend a surgical removal of the tumor. This can help restore normal aldosterone levels in the body.
  • Lifestyle changes: Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress can all help to reduce aldosterone levels and manage symptoms.