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Hyperaldosteronism (Conn's syndrome)

Primary aldosteronism, also known as Conn’s syndrome, is a condition where the adrenal glands produce an excessive amount of the steroid hormone aldosterone. Aldosterone helps regulate the excretion of sodium and potassium. The adrenal glands are two small triangular glands located on top of each kidney.

This condition can result from the overproduction of aldosterone by one or both adrenal glands. Overproduction can be caused by both glands, noncancerous masses in one adrenal gland, or, very rarely, cancerous tumours.

Primary aldosteronism typically presents with high blood pressure and low potassium levels in the blood. If left untreated, high blood pressure can increase the risk of complications such as heart attack and stroke, while low potassium levels can lead to heart rhythm irregularities.

Anyone can develop primary aldosteronism, but certain factors may increase the likelihood of its presence. These factors include low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia), high blood pressure starting before the age of 30, high blood pressure requiring three or more medications to manage, and the presence of an adrenal mass.

Primary aldosteronism occurs due to the overproduction of aldosterone by the adrenal glands themselves. This hormone plays a crucial role in regulating the body’s water and sodium (salt) balance, blood volume, and blood pressure. In some cases, primary aldosteronism may result from benign tumours in one or both adrenal glands.

In rare instances, primary aldosteronism may be caused by an inherited disorder. Additionally, extremely rare cases involve cancerous tumours in one or both adrenal glands.

The symptoms of primary aldosteronism generally include high blood pressure accompanied by low potassium levels. Other symptoms may include excessive thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, headaches, muscle cramps, and visual disturbances.

With Sulis Hospital, your symptoms will be assessed promptly, and a diagnosis will be provided swiftly. This will enable us to develop an individualised treatment plan to optimally manage your heart condition.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Primary aldosteronism is diagnosed by measuring the levels of hormones and aldosterone and renin along with electrolytes in patients with high blood pressure.

Further tests may be recommended to rule out adrenal gland tumours. These include:

If the excess aldosterone is produced by both adrenal glands, it is typically managed with medications. These medications work by blocking the effects of aldosterone.

Alternatively, if the excess aldosterone is produced by one adrenal gland, surgical removal of that gland can be considered as an alternative to medication.

In addition to medical interventions, your doctor may also recommend certain lifestyle changes to help manage primary aldosteronism. These changes may include:

Engaging in frequent exercise.

Limiting alcohol intake.

Reducing sodium in your diet.

Stopping smoking.

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