Feature Article

Primary aldosteronism: making the diagnosis and why it matters

Michael Stowasser

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Abstract

It has been recognised that primary aldosteronism is a much more common cause of hypertension than previously thought and this has led to increased interest in this condition. Being a common but potentially reversible cause of cardiovascular morbidity and reduced quality of life, primary aldosteronism is well worth looking for.

Key Points

  • Primary aldosteronism is more common than is realised.
  • All patients presenting with hypertension and those with difficult to control or treatment-resistant hypertension should be screened for primary aldosteronism.
  • Primary aldosteronism has more profound cardiovascular consequences per millimetre of blood pressure than other forms of hypertension.
  • Primary aldosteronism is specifically treatable and potentially curable.
  • The presence of hypokalaemia is not essential for the diagnosis of primary aldosteronism.

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