iCliniq logo

Ask a Doctor Online Now

HomeHealth articleshyperaldosteronismWhat Is Aldosteronism?

Aldosteronism - Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Verified dataVerified data
0

4 min read

Share

Aldosteronism is an endocrine disorder leading to altered levels of blood pressure.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Nagaraj

Published At September 19, 2022
Reviewed AtJune 18, 2024

Introduction:

The adrenal glands are part of the body that produces a hormone (protein) known as aldosterone. The role of this hormone is to maintain blood pressure. The mechanism of blood pressure maintenance is by regulating the levels of sodium, potassium, and water in the blood.

Aldosteronism or hyperaldosteronism is a disorder involving the endocrine system that affects one or both of the adrenal glands and thus leads to the formation of high levels of the hormone known as aldosterone. This makes the body lose high levels of potassium and retain increased levels of sodium. Thus, water retention, blood volume, and blood pressure are increased in the body.

Who Is Likely to Have Aldosteronism?

People who are more likely to be affected by aldosteronism are as follows:

  • A family history of the condition.

  • Young age, especially before 40 years of age.

  • People with benign tumors in the adrenal glands.

  • Congestive heart failure.

  • Liver disease.

  • People taking diuretics.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Aldosteronism?

Increased blood pressure is the main symptom of hyperaldosteronism. It can range from moderate to severe. Some cases have been reported in which high blood pressure related to hyperaldosteronism has not responded to medication. However, in other patients, it may respond to a few medications or their combinations alone. High blood pressure usually does not have any symptoms. But the following may be noticed when the patient develops any symptoms:

  • Dizziness.

  • Headaches.

  • Chest pain.

  • Problems with vision.

  • Shortness of breath.

Hypokalemia is another main symptom of hyperaldosteronism. Hypokalemia is a clinical condition characterized by low levels of potassium in the blood. Although it is not known to cause any symptoms, moderate cases may experience the following:

  • Fatigue or tiredness.

  • Increased thirst.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Muscle weakness.

  • Increase in urination.

  • Palpitations or increased heartbeat.

How Is Aldosteronism Caused?

Hyperaldosteronism is classified as primary and secondary. They have similar symptoms, but they are differentiated based on their cause.

Primary Hyperaldosteronism:

Primary hyperaldosteronism is caused when one or both adrenal glands are affected. It is also called Conn’s syndrome. Sometimes, it is congenital, as some people are born with overactive adrenal glands.

However, others may develop it due to the following:

  • Adrenocortical cancer (it is a rare cancerous tumor that produces aldosterone).

  • A benign tumor is present in one of the adrenal glands.

  • Any inherited condition affecting the adrenal glands.

  • Glucocorticoid-remediable aldosteronism (it is a hereditary type of aldosteronism that runs in families).

Secondary Hyperaldosteronism:

Secondary hyperaldosteronism is caused due to factors other than the adrenal glands. It is usually related to a reduction in blood flow to the kidneys.

The following are the reasons that can cause it:

  • Diuretic medications.

  • A block or narrowing in the renal artery.

  • Heart failure.

  • Chronic liver disease.

How Can Aldosteronism Be Diagnosed?

When an individual visits the physician, they will be asked about their family history, personal history, and symptoms. Then, a blood test will be conducted to check the levels of aldosterone and renin. Renin is an enzyme released by the kidney and functions together with aldosterone to help maintain blood pressure. It has been observed that patients with hyperaldosteronism usually have decreased levels of renin and increased levels of aldosterone.

After an individual gets the results of their blood test, the following tests may be done to diagnose the condition:

  • Captopril challenge test.

  • Salt-loading test.

  • Saline infusion test.

  • Fludrocortisone suppression test.

  • Abdomen examination with the help of CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

  • Adrenal vein sample.

How Can Aldosteronism Be Treated?

The main idea behind treating hyperaldosteronism is focused on decreasing the aldosterone levels or blocking the effects caused by altered levels of aldosterone, high blood pressure, and decreased blood potassium. The treatment is dependent on the cause. The following are the methods to manage it:

1. Medication:

The physician may prescribe the patient a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, like Spironolactone. This helps block the effects of aldosterone on the body, such as increased blood pressure and low potassium levels. The patient may require additional medication to maintain blood pressure levels.

2. Surgery:

If the tumor is the cause, then the physician will advise adrenalectomy. It is the procedure in which the affected adrenal gland is removed along with the tumor. The person may experience a decrease in blood pressure following this procedure. With follow-ups, the physician will change the medication depending on the blood pressure levels.

3. Changes in Lifestyle:

Lifestyle changes can enhance recovery along with medications or surgery. Following are the lifestyle modifications that an individual can incorporate:

  • Consume a Healthy Balanced Diet: A balanced diet helps maintain a healthy weight, which can regulate blood pressure. Minimize salt intake.

  • Exercise: Regularly exercising, even for just 30 minutes, like walking a few times a week, can help reduce blood pressure.

  • Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine are known to increase blood pressure. Also, some medications can show fewer effects in the presence of alcohol.

  • Quit Smoking: Smoking cigarettes can lead to constriction of the blood vessels. This, in turn, leads to an increase in heart rate and can also cause an increase in blood pressure. Also, smoking is known to increase the risk of experiencing a heart attack and stroke, even without increased blood pressure.

What Complications Are Associated With Primary Aldosteronism?

The complications associated with primary aldosteronism are as follows:

  • High blood pressure.

  • Electrolyte imbalance.

  • Chronic kidney disease.

  • Glucose intolerance.

  • Hardening and narrowing of the arteries.

Can Aldosteronism Cause Any Complications?

Increased levels of aldosterone can lead to a variety of health issues. For example, literature shows that this condition can lead to direct injury to the tissues of the heart and ultimately cause scars and enlargement of the left side of the heart. In addition to blood vessel injury and various other complications related to an increase in blood pressure, untreated hyperaldosteronism can also prove to be a risk factor for the following:

  • Stroke.

  • Heart attacks.

  • Kidney failure.

  • Heart failure.

It is important to have regular follow-ups with the physician to avoid any unwanted complications.

How Is Aldosteronism Prevented?

The preventive measures for aldosteronism are as follows:

  • Management of underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart disease.

  • Follow healthy lifestyle habits, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine.

  • Regular medical check-ups for blood pressure monitoring.

  • Practice stress reduction techniques, such as yoga and meditation.

What Is the Prognosis of Aldosteronism?

The prognosis of aldosteronism is based on the underlying cause, diagnosis, and effectiveness of treatment. The prognosis is generally positive with appropriate treatment. Surgical and medical treatment can effectively control symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Early diagnosis, adherence to treatment, and regular monitoring may ensure favorable outcomes and maintain a good quality of life.

Conclusion:

Aldosteronism is an endocrine disorder related to the hormone aldosterone. It can be either primary or secondary, depending on the cause. Early diagnosis and management improve the prognosis and maintain a good quality of life. An individual can consult a specialist online through online medical platforms to learn more about this condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

How Does High Aldosterone Affect Your Body?

The adrenal glands are part of the body that functions to produce a hormone (protein) known as aldosterone. The role of this hormone is to maintain blood pressure. The mechanism of maintenance of blood pressure is by regulating the levels of sodium, potassium, and water in the blood. High production of aldosterone can cause our body to lose too much potassium while retaining too much sodium. This results in increased water retention (edema) and an increase in blood pressure.

2.

Is Hyperaldosteronism a Serious Condition?

Aldosteronism or hyperaldosteronism is a disorder involving the endocrine system which affects one or both of the adrenal glands and thus leads to the formation of high levels of the hormone known as aldosterone. This makes the body lose high levels of potassium and retain increased levels of sodium. Thus, water retention, blood volume, and blood pressure are increased in the body. This condition can cause serious heart problems and increase the risk for heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, or kidney failure. In addition, it can cause direct injury to the heart tissues, causing scarring and enlargement of the heart.

3.

How Do You Get Screened for Primary Aldosteronism?

Primary hyperaldosteronism is caused when one or both adrenal glands are affected. It is also called Conn’s syndrome. Sometimes, it is congenital, as some people are born with overactive adrenal glands. Measuring the aldosterone and renin ratio can help diagnose primary aldosteronism. This should be confirmed by testing the electrolytes, including sodium and potassium levels, in patients with high blood pressure. It has been observed that patients with hyperaldosteronism usually have decreased levels of renin and increased levels of aldosterone.

4.

Is Aldosteronism Curable?

The main idea behind treating hyperaldosteronism is focused on decreasing the aldosterone levels or blocking the effects caused due to altered levels of aldosterone, high blood pressure, and decreased blood potassium. The treatment is dependent on the cause. Aldosteronism can be cured with medications and lifestyle changes. In cases where it is coming from the tumor of the adrenal gland, surgical removal of the glands may be required.

5.

How Can You Control Your Aldosterone Levels?

Aldosterone levels can be controlled by taking medications such as Spironolactone and other antihypertensives to control blood pressure. In cases where one may have a tumor with adrenal glands, it may be advised to remove the affected gland. Lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and exercise can provide additional benefits and control the effects of high aldosterone. Regularly exercising, even for just 30 minutes, like walking a few times a week, can help reduce blood pressure.

6.

Can I Gain Weight With High Aldosterone?

Increased levels of aldosterone can lead to a variety of health issues. An increase in aldosterone coincides with an increase in weight gain. Several data suggest that visceral fat tissue serves as a source of the potent stimulus of aldosterone genesis, implicating aldosterone as a potentially important mediator of obesity and cardiovascular problems.

7.

How Does Adrenal Crisis May You Feel?

Adrenaline is also known as epinephrine. It is a hormone that is involved in regulating several functions in the body. Adrenaline is produced both by the adrenal glands as well as a small number of neurons in the brain. An adrenal crisis is a medical emergency marked by severe weakness, dizziness, abdominal pain, and nausea. There may be frequent episodes of vomiting and diarrhea leading to dehydration or even loss of consciousness.

8.

Can I Genetically Inherit Hyperaldosteronism?

Hyperaldosteronism is classified as primary and secondary. They have similar symptoms, but they are differentiated based on their cause. Hyperaldosteronism is an inherited condition caused by excessive production of aldosterone. The condition is marked in an autosomal dominant pattern, wherein one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder.

9.

Does High Aldosterone Cause Mood Swings?

Excess aldosterone may promote short-term physiological and behavioral changes and may be associated with symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. Hypokalemia is another main symptom of hyperaldosteronism. Hypokalemia is a clinical condition characterized by low levels of potassium in the blood, which may in turn, lead to mood swings.

10.

What Diagnostic Tests Are Required To Check High Aldosterone?

A blood test will be conducted to check the levels of aldosterone and renin. Renin is an enzyme released by the kidney and functions together with aldosterone to help maintain blood pressure. To check the levels of aldosterone, your doctor may recommend the following tests.
- Blood test (aldosterone stimulation test, sodium, and potassium concentrations).
- CT scan (computerized tomography) or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
- Urine test.
- Captopril challenge test.
- Salt-loading test.
- Saline infusion test.
- Fludrocortisone suppression test.
- Abdomen examination with the help of CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
- Adrenal vein sample.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Nagaraj
Dr. Nagaraj

Diabetology

Tags:

hyperaldosteronism
Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Ask your health query to a doctor online

Internal Medicine

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy