Primary Aldosteronism (Conn's Syndrome)
What is primary aldosteronism (Conn’s syndrome)?
Primary aldosteronism means the adrenal glands produce too much of the steroid hormone aldosterone, which helps control sodium and potassium excretion. The adrenal glands are two small triangular glands, one on top of each kidney.
This condition, also called Conn’s syndrome, results from overproduction of aldosterone by one or both adrenal glands. Overproduction of aldosterone by both glands, noncancerous masses in one adrenal gland or, very rarely, cancerous tumors, can cause overproduction of aldosterone.
Primary aldosteronism usually manifests with high blood pressure and low potassium levels in the blood. Left unchecked, high blood pressure raises your risk for complications including heart attack and stroke, while low potassium can cause heart rhythm irregularities.
Who is likely to have primary aldosteronism (Conn’s syndrome)?
Anyone can develop primary aldosteronism. But it’s more likely to be present if you have:
- Low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia).
- High blood pressure starting before age 30.
- High blood pressure requiring three or more medications to manage.
- An adrenal mass.
What causes primary aldosteronism (Conn’s syndrome)?
Primary aldosteronism results from overproduction of aldosterone by the adrenal glands themselves. This hormone helps regulate the body’s balance of water and sodium (salt), blood volume and blood pressure.
In some cases, primary aldosteronism results from benign, or noncancerous, tumors in one or both adrenal glands.
Rarely, primary aldosteronism occurs because of an inherited disorder. In extremely rare cases, cancerous tumors in one or both adrenal glands cause primary aldosteronism .
What are the symptoms of primary aldosteronism (Conn’s syndrome)?
Primary aldosteronism generally causes high blood pressure with low potassium.
Other symptoms may include:
- Excessive thirst.
- Frequent urination.
- Muscle cramps.
- Visual disturbances.
- Weakness or tingling.