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Primary aldosteronism or Conn's syndrome is any of a number of disorders that directly cause the adrenal glands to overproduce aldosterone. The symtoms of the condition tend to be mild and prosaic such as high blood pressure, poor vision, headaches, muscle weakness, spasms, peripheral neuropathy and excess urination.
About two-thirds of cases are caused by an enlargement of the adrenal glands, while the majority of the remainder are caused by a tumor on the adrenals. More rarely, it is caused by adrenal cancer or by a genetic condition.
About 10% of patients with high blood pressure also have Conn's. It is more common in women, and usually is first diagnosed in patients over 30 but under 50. In addition, about 40% of patients have been identified with a common gene even in non-genetic cases.
The condition can only be accurately diagnosed by measuring the ratio of aldosterone in the blood to the level of renin, an enzyme. The condition is typified by a very high ratio between the two. In most cases, medical imaging is performed to pinpoint the cause.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause. If a tumor is the cause, surgical removal is recommended. If only one adrenal gland is enlarged, it is usually removed. However, if both are enlarged, drug therapy is usually recommended.