Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, discusses What is Hyperaldosteronism and How is it Related to High Blood Pressure?
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Featuring Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, What is Hyperaldosteronism and How is it Related to High Blood Pressure?
Duration: 2 minutes, 12 seconds
Primary hyperaldosteronism is a condition where the adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of a hormone known as aldosterone. Aldosterone is responsible for maintaining blood pressure in the body as well as normal potassium and sodium levels.
So primary hyperaldosteronism, when it occurs, will cause elevations in blood pressure, often very difficult to control, sometimes requiring three or more medications.
A physician may suspect a patient has primary hyperaldosteronism because of elevated blood pressure or low potassium, and then they would carry out investigations. Typically blood or urine tests to measure the hormone aldosterone, which is in excess in this condition, and we often see suppression of another hormone called plasma renin activity.
Once the condition is diagnosed biochemically, then your doctor will probably order some medical imaging tests, often a CT scan or an MRI scan of the adrenals, looking for any growths or nodules in the glans.
And sometimes they may send you for an adrenal vein sampling study, where blood is actually drawn from the veins that drain the adrenal glands, so we can measure the aldosterone levels from each gland. And the reason that’s important is that if the hyperaldosteronism is coming from a single adrenal gland, the treatment would be to remove that adrenal gland. But, if it’s coming from both adrenal glands, then the treatment would usually be medication.
Primary hyperaldosteronism is important, and the reason is that it’s fairly common. Up to 10 percent of individuals with high blood pressure might have unrecognized hyperaldosteronism, and untreated or ongoing elevations in blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack, strokes and other cardiovascular events.
So again, if you have the signs or symptoms of hyperaldosteronism, with elevations in blood pressure that are difficult to treat or low potassium, please see your physician for appropriate tests.
Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist
This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.