Conn syndrome is the overproduction of the hormone aldosterone by a tumor that contains tissue resembling that normally present in the overproduction(cortex) of the adrenal gland.The excess aldosterone results in a pottasium level(hypokalemia),excessive urination(polyuria) and high blood pressure(hypertension)
SYMPTOMS OF CONN SYNDROME
High blood pressure is the main,and often the only symptom.Other symptoms of con synrome include high blood pressure,headache, tiredness and excessive urination(often during night).Also,the level of pottassium in the blood may be decreased.Other symptoms may occur because high aldosterone levels in the blood act on the kidney to increase the loss of the mineral potassium in the urine.This in turn may lead to a fall in blood potassium resulting in tiredness,muscle weakness and passing of large volumes of urine(polyuria),especially at night(nocturia).
CAUSES OF CON SYNDROME
The most common cause of conns synrome is an aldosterone producing tumor of the adrenal gland.Women between ages of 30-50 are at highest risk for developing con syndrome.
The excess secretion of the hormone aldosterone into the blood is from an abnormal adrenal gland or glands.Two types of abnormality are seen – a benign tumour of one adrenal, called an adenoma or a general enlargement of both adrenals,called hyperplasia.The underlying reasons for the development of an adenoma or hyperplasia are not known.
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
Conns synrome should be suspectd in all patients with high blood pressure.Traditional teaching has been to limit investigation for con’s syndrome to patients who have a low blood potassium or in whom blood pressure which is moderate to serve or is difficult to control with medification.However using these criteria,many patients with con’s syndrome will not be diagnosed.For eg,about40% of patients with cons syndrome have normal blood potassium levels.
The most rigorous method of diagnosis is to measure the blood levels of two hormones : aldosterone & renin.In cons syndrome,the aldosterone level is elevated and the renin level is low or undetectable.
ost rigorous method of diagnosis is to measure the blood levels of two hormones : aldosterone & renin.In cons syndrome,the aldosterone level is elevated and the renin level is low or undetectable.
A low salt diet may improve some symtoms by improving the low blood pottassium and blood pressure.Conns synrome resulting from a tumor is usually treated by removing an adrenal gland.This surgery may be performed with an open or laparoscopic approach.