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Hyperaldosteronism - Symptoms and Treatment

Hyperaldosteronism is a medical condition where too much aldosterone is produced by the adrenal glands , which can lead to lowered levels of potassium . In hyperaldosteronism, overproduction of aldosterone leads to fluid retention and increased blood pressure, weakness, and, rarely, periods of paralysis. Aldosterone production is regulated partly by corticotropin (secreted by the pituitary gland) and partly through the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Renin, an enzyme produced in the kidneys, controls the activation of the hormone angiotensin, which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce aldosterone. Hyperaldosteronism can be caused by a tumor (usually a noncancerous adenoma) in the adrenal gland (a condition called Conn's syndrome), although sometimes both glands are involved and are overactive. Sometimes hyperaldosteronism is a response to certain diseases, such as very high blood pressure (hypertension) or narrowing of one of the arteries to the kidneys. Other causes of hyperaldosteronism include adrenal hyperplasia (enlargement) and rarely an aldosterone-producing cancer. Aldosterone-producing adenomas (benign tumors) are usually solitary tumors involving only one adrenal gland and are typically smaller than 2 cm in diameter. Although hyperaldosteronism is an uncommon cause of hypertension, it is important as a curable cause of high blood pressure. Hyperaldosteronism is suspected in patients with difficult-to-treat high blood pressure and hypokalemia with no known cause.

Hyperaldosteronism is a disorder which is defined by the body's overproduction of aldosterone, a hormone that controls sodium and potassium levels in the blood. Its overproduction leads to retention of salt and loss of potassium, which leads to hypertension (high blood pressure). Increased aldostersone can result from a benign tumor of one adrenal gland, which is called an adenoma, or an enlargement of both adrenal glands, called hyperplasia. People with a deficiency of aldosterone, especially found in association with cortisol deficiency in Addison's disease, have low blood volume and therefore low blood pressure, low sodium and high potassium. Just the opposite is seen in hyperaldosteronism. This is a rare disease and is an unusual cause of hypertension. It is usually considered by physicians if they find an unexpectedly low potassium in a person being treated for hypertension. It generally causes no other specific symptoms or signs. The physical examination in people with hyperaldosteronism is totally normal.

Causes of Hyperaldosteronism

Common Causes of Hyperaldosteronism :

  • It can be caused by a benign (rarely malignant) tumor of one of the adrenal glands. When the cause is a single adrenal tumor, it is labeled Conn's Syndrome.
  • It can occur from hyperplasia (enlargement),  of both adrenal glands.

Symptoms of Hyperaldosteronism

Some common Symptoms of Hyperaldosteronism :

  • Fatigue.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Hypokalemia.
  • Numbness.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Polydipsia.
  • Headache.
  • Intermittent paralysis.



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