Hyperaldosteronism is a condition in which the adrenal glands produce excessive aldosterone hormones. Aldosterone is responsible for balancing sodium and potassium in blood and an imbalance of it can lead to increased blood volume and pressure. Hyperaldosteronism can be primary or secondary:
- Primary aldosteronism occurs when your adrenal glands produce excess aldosterone.
- Secondary aldosteronism occurs when aldosterones are produced in excess amounts due to an extra-adrenal stimuli, or something outside the adrenal glands such as reduced blood flow or chronic liver disease.
Some of the possible causes of primary hyperaldosteronism includes:
- Adrenal tumours
- Overactive adrenal glands
Secondary aldosteronism is usually related to reduced blood flow to the kidneys. Causes of it includes:
- Heart failure
- Chronic liver disease
- Blockage or narrowing of renal artery
Symptoms of hyperaldosteronism includes:
- Muscle cramps
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
Diagnostic procedure for hyperaldosteronism includes:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Medical history
- Family history
- Blood tests
- Salt loading test
- Imaging procedures such as abdominal CT scan
- Adrenal vein blood test
There is no known preventive measure for hyperaldosteronism. Constant and periodic monitoring of blood pressure enables early identification and hence proper treatment of the disease and therefore, preventing further complications.
Treatment for aldosteronism depends on the cause of the condition.
- Medications such as aldosterone – blocking drugs can be used in the treatment of hyperaldosteronism.
- Adrenalectomy: surgical removal of adrenal gland might be recommended in case of adrenal tumours.
- Medications and lifestyle changes are recommended in case of overactive adrenal glands. Lifestyle changes include a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and smoking.
- Treatment for secondary aldosteronism depends on the source of the condition. For example, if chronic liver disease causes hyperaldosteronism, treatment for liver disease should be done.
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