- A disorder that results from the
excess secretion of a hormone known as aldosterone . This hormone is secreted by the adrenal glands (located above the kidneys), and is involved in the regulation of many important bodily functions, such as blood pressure, proper electrolyte balance (potassium, Sodium etc.), and the
secondary retention of
- Tumors (abnormal growths) of the
adrenal glands are the main cause.
- The tumors are often benign
(adrenal adenomas) and rarely cancerous (i.e.,
- The secretion of excess aldosterone by these tumors increases the reabsorption (uptake) of Sodium, while increasing
potassium loss by the kidneys.
- Most patients have normal potassium
- High Blood Pressure
- Looking at the back of the eye
with an ophthalmoscope, the physician may see damaged
blood vessels due to hypertension.
- The heart rate may have a fast or
an irregular rhythm (palpitation).
- Hypokalemia (low potassium)
- Low acidity of the blood
- High aldosterone levels
- Low Renin (an enzyme
involved in maintaining proper blood pressure) levels
- Urine samples may show: Increased
potassium levels Increased aldosterone levels
- A CAT scan (uses computers to
generate detailed pictures) is done to locate the adrenal
- Age between 30-50
- Also, there is association with
increased renal cysts (sacs in the kidneys).
- Your doctor may consult with an
endocrinologist (hormone doctor) or a surgeon.
- If a tumor is present in only one
adrenal gland, the affected adrenal is surgically removed.
- If tumors are seen in both adrenal
glands, then medical therapy is the usual treatment.
- Potassium sparing diuretic medications such as Spironolactone, blood pressure medications (ACE-inhibitors, etc.), and a low salt (Sodium) diet is recommended.
- Exercise and avoidance of drugs
(tobacco and alcohol) is
- Malignant hypertension
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Use of diuretics to reduce blood pressure (e.g., Lasix, HCTZ)
- Renin-secreting tumors
- Renovascular hypertension
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