What Is Conn's Syndrome?
Conn's syndrome is a rare hormonal disorder where the adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone aldosterone. The excess hormone leads to high blood pressure and low potassium levels. This condition is also called primary hyperaldosteronism.
There are several common symptoms of Conn’s disease.Conn’s syndrome symptoms:
- High Blood Pressure— The overproduction of aldosterone hormone in Conn's Syndrome makes your body retain sodium, increasing blood volume and causing high blood pressure.
- Low Potassium Levels— Because your body is retaining more sodium, it tends to excrete more potassium, leading to low potassium levels in the body.
- Muscle Weakness and Cramps— Low potassium levels can often result in muscle weakness and cramps since potassium plays a vital role in muscle function.
- Fatigue— The imbalance of electrolytes and persistent high blood pressure in the body can make you feel unusually tired.
- Excessive Thirst— Increased sodium levels in the body can cause an imbalance in fluid levels, leading to excessive thirst.
- Frequent Urination— As a response to excessive thirst and increased fluid intake, you may experience frequent urination.
- Heart Palpitations— When your blood pressure is high, your heart must pump harder. This could lead to a fast or irregular heartbeat.
Conn's Syndrome is generally caused by the overproduction of aldosterone, tumors, or an inherited disorder. It can also occur without a specific or identifiable cause.
Conn’s syndrome causes:
- Overproduction of Aldosterone— Sometimes, for reasons not completely understood, the adrenal glands produce more aldosterone than necessary, leading to an imbalance in the body's electrolytes.
- Tumors— Often, benign (non-cancerous) tumors in the adrenal glands, also known as adrenal adenomas, can trigger an overproduction of aldosterone.
- Inherited Disorder— Certain genetic disorders can result in the overproduction of aldosterone, leading to Conn's Syndrome.
While anyone can develop Conn's Syndrome, certain factors may increase the likelihood of experiencing this condition.
Risk factors include:
- Family History
- High Blood Pressure
- Genetic Disorders
How to Diagnose Conn's Syndrome
Diagnosing Conn's Syndrome involves a comprehensive assessment of symptoms and medical history, followed by specific tests to confirm the condition. Doctors typically conduct hormone testing to measure aldosterone levels in the blood and urine. Your doctor may also order imaging tests like computed technology (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to visually examine the adrenal glands for any abnormalities, such as tumors.
The treatment approach for Conn's Syndrome typically involves medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes. The goal of these treatments is to restore balance to the body's hormone levels and manage symptoms effectively.
Conn’s syndrome treatment:
- Medication – Medication such as aldosterone blockers can help regulate hormone levels and manage symptoms like high blood pressure. Your doctor may also recommend supplements as part of your treatment.
- Surgery – If tumors are causing the condition, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the tumors.
- Lifestyle changes – Making changes to your way of living, such as eating nutritious foods and moving your body regularly, can help improve your health. You can also limit your sodium intake to help you manage your blood pressure and overall health.
It may not be possible to prevent Conn's Syndrome entirely. Certain lifestyle changes can help manage your risk factors and support overall adrenal health.
Preventive measures include:
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Limit sodium
- Regular check-ups
- Stress management
- Monitor blood pressure
Next Steps with MyChart
Discover MyChart, a free patient portal that combines your Baptist Health medical records into one location. Schedule appointments, review lab results, financials, and more! If you have questions, give us a call.