What is Primary Aldosteronism?

Primary aldosteronism, or Conn’s Syndrome, is characterized by your body making more of the hormone aldosterone than it needs. This hormone controls the potassium and the sodium that is in your bloodstream. This is a treatable condition that can be treated with lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery. Seeing a doctor frequently and checking your blood pressure on a regular basis can help you to find this condition before it gets too dangerous. 

This condition means that your adrenal glands, that are on top of your kidneys, are making too much aldosterone and is not regulating the potassium and sodium excretions. One or both of your adrenal glands can be the cause of primary aldosteronism, you will need to get it checked out as soon as you can. It can also be caused by non-cancerous masses that are on your adrenal glands. These masses can be cancerous in very rare conditions. 

You usually find out if you have primary aldosteronism when you have high blood pressure that goes along with low potassium levels. If you do not get it checked out soon, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, or irregularities with your heart rhythm. These are all reasons to have regular appointments with your doctor. If you see your doctor frequently, they can find the issue before it becomes dangerous for you. 

Anyone can have primary aldosteronism, but there are risk factors that make it more likely for you. These risk factors include low potassium levels, high blood pressure – especially if you are younger than thirty, high blood pressure that takes more than three medications to keep under control, and adrenal masses. It can also be a genetic disorder, so if a family member has this condition, you might have it, too. There is genetic testing that can be done to rule this out. To find out more about genetic testing, you can look at this site: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/under. If your doctor suspects any of these risk factors for you, they may require you to have more testing.

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If you have some of these symptoms, you will also want to talk with your doctor. Some of the symptoms include excessive thirst, extreme fatigue, lots of peeing, headaches, cramps in your muscles, blurry vision – or other disturbances with your vision, or tingling and weakness. These are just some of the symptoms, but these need to be checked out by your doctor. 

You want to make sure that you do not hesitate to see your doctor if you have these symptoms. Ignoring them can lead to heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. Your doctor can treat these symptoms if you get it diagnosed early enough.

Your doctor can diagnose this condition by testing your urine for excessive amounts of potassium or sodium. They might also want to do imaging tests to rule out any tumors that are usually benign but are rarely cancerous. These tests can be a CT – computerized tomography – scans or an MRI – magnetic resonance imaging. You can learn more about imaging testing at this site. These imaging tests can help to ensure that you do not have any tumors. 

Primary aldosteronism can be treated in a number of ways, especially when caught early. These treatments can include medication including spirinolacone or eplerenone which will block the effects of aldosterone. Surgery to remove one adrenal gland can also be a treatment that can be done if this is caused by just one adrenal gland. These are just a few of the treatment, your doctor may have other treatments for you to investigate.

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You should also make some lifestyle changes such as more exercise, less alcohol, less sodium in your diet, and less or no tobacco. If you decide not to make any of these changes, it could lead to an imbalance of electrolytes in your body, irregular heartbeats, heart failure, heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, and inability to move or temporary paralysis. These changes might be difficult for you, but you can also enlist professionals to help you with them. You could consult a dietician, seek a trainer at a gym, or seek treatment for alcohol abuse. These are just a few of the professionals who can help you to make these lifestyle changes. 

Although you cannot prevent primary aldosteronism, you can find the condition through frequently monitoring your blood pressure and frequent doctor’s visits.  The outlook for people with this condition is good when they are medicated or through surgery. If they are not treated in a timely manner, this condition can lead to death by stroke or heart attack.

Remember that this article is not an alternative to going to the doctor. If you have these symptoms, you can discuss them with your doctor and agree on a treatment plan. Early treatment will help you to overcome this condition. 

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