Conn's Syndrome

Primary aldosteronism also called Conn’s syndrome is a rare condition caused by overproduction of the hormone aldosterone that controls sodium and potassium in the blood. The condition is treated with medications and lifestyle changes to control blood pressure, and in some cases surgery.

Causes of 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 .

Symptoms of Conn’s Syndrome

  • Excessive thirst.

  • Fatigue.

  • Frequent urination.

  • Headache.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Visual disturbances.

  • Weakness or tingling.

Diagnosis of Conn’s Syndrome

  • Doctors diagnose primary aldosteronism by measuring the levels of hormones like aldosterone and renin along with electrolytes, including sodium and potassium in patients with high blood pressure.
  • Electrolytes are minerals that help balance the amount of water in your body.

Your healthcare provider may recommend further testing to rule out adrenal gland tumors. These may include:

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan, which uses X-rays to create pictures of internal body structures.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using radio waves and high-powered magnets to visualize the inside of your body.

Treatment of Conn’s Syndrome

If the extra aldosterone is produced by both adrenal glands it is usually treated with medications like spirinolacone (brand name Aldactone) or eplerenone (Inspra) which block the effects of aldosterone. If it is produced by one adrenal gland, removing that gland is an alternative to those medications.

Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes, including:

  • Frequent exercise.

  • Limiting alcohol intake.

  • Reducing sodium in your diet.

  • Stopping smoking.

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