Blood Pressure Alarms

Primary Aldosteronism

Excess aldosterone is a medical condition characterized by excessive aldosterone production in the body. The adrenal gland in the human body secretes the hormone, aldosterone. The hormone aldosterone helps to maintain the accurate levels of sodium and potassium in the body.

Sodium and potassium are important minerals required for the proper functioning of the human body as they work hand-in-hand to maintain the correct balance of water in the human body. They help the muscles to contract and relax and pass on nerve impulses in the body.

Some times the adrenal glands produce  aldosterone in excess of the amount which is required by the human body for normal functioning. This condition is known as primary aldosteronism or Conn’s syndrome.  An excess of aldosterone  leads to the loss of potassium and retention of sodium in the body.

As a result of sodium retention there is fluid retention. The fluid retention increases the volume of blood, the heart pumps faster and as a result there is a rise in the blood pressure.

Excessive potassium loss leads to hypokalemia, which can cause weakness in the muscles and is responsible for a disturbed heart rhythm.

Almost twelve to thirteen percent of total hypertension cases may be attributed to this condition. Primary aldosteronism is a common occurrence in people with extreme and uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Hypertension that does not respond to medication may often be diagnosed as caused by  excess aldosterone. Low potassium levels, presence of a tumor (mostly harmless) in one or both adrenal glands can also be responsible for this condition. Over activity of the adrenal glands and genetic factors may also trigger such excessive aldosterone production.

Other commonly manifested symptoms of this condition  may also include fatigue, headaches, and numbness in the muscles, temporary paralysis, excessive thirst or urination.

Treatment for Conn’s syndrome depends on the underlying cause responsible for this medical condition. Treatment options include medication, lifestyle modification and/or surgery. Adopting a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, quitting smoking and restricting the intake of alcohol and caffeine can also help to treat this condition.

Surgical removal of the adrenal gland is another option that can help to treat potassium deficiency and thus bring down blood pressure levels. Routine blood pressure examination is important, as it helps to detect high blood pressure in its initial stages itself and can avert the condition from becoming more severe.

Untreated high blood pressure may lead to heart attack, kidney failure or premature death. Low potassium level can lead to fatigue, excessive urination and muscle cramps. Thus, it is important that this condition be diagnosed and treated in time. Once cured, regular check ups are also important to ensure that all remains well and under control.