Merck Manual

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Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Glands make and release hormones.

Hormones are chemicals that stimulate other cells or tissues into action. Because hormones are in your blood, they travel throughout your body. They can affect many organs at the same time.

You have two adrenal glands, one above each kidney. The adrenal glands release several different hormones that help control your blood pressure, heart rate, balance of water and salt, response to stress, and some male-type sex features.

What is hyperaldosteronism?

In hyperaldosteronism, you have too much of the adrenal hormone called aldosterone. "Hyper-" before the word "-aldosteronism" means too much aldosterone.

  • A tumor in your adrenal gland can cause hyperaldosteronism

  • Your blood pressure will be high, and you'll feel weak and very thirsty

  • Doctors do surgery to remove tumors or give you medicine to block the hormone

What causes hyperaldosteronism?

The hormone aldosterone tells your kidneys to hold on to sodium and get rid of potassium. Sodium and potassium are important minerals in your body.

Causes of hyperaldosteronism include:

  • A tumor in your adrenal gland that produces aldosterone (Conn disease)

  • Certain kidney problems that make your adrenal glands release aldosterone

  • Rarely, general overactivity of your adrenal glands

Usually adrenal gland tumors aren't cancerous.

What are the symptoms of hyperaldosteronism?

Symptoms include:

  • Bloating

  • Water retention

  • Weakness

  • Tingling

  • Muscle spasms

  • Feeling thirsty and peeing more than usual

How do doctors tell if I have hyperaldosteronism?

Doctors do:

  • Blood tests

  • Sometimes CT scan or MRI of your adrenal glands

If the blood tests are positive, doctors may need to take a sample of blood from each of your adrenal glands. Taking such a sample is done through a catheter inserted in a vein in your groin.

How do doctors treat hyperaldosteronism?

Doctors will:

  • Do surgery to remove any adrenal gland tumors

  • Have you take a type of high blood pressure medicine that blocks the effects of aldosterone

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