Mineralocorticoid hypertension

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Hypertension with hypokalaemia and suppression of plasma renin activity is known as mineralocorticoid hypertension.Although mineralocorticoid hypertension accounts for a small number of patients labelled as having "essential" hypertension, it is a potentially reversible cause of high blood pressure. The most common cause of mineralocorticoid hypertension is probably primary aldosteronism; controlled posture studies to measure plasma renin activity and aldosterone concentrations, followed by adrenal imaging, will ensure the differential diagnosis between an aldosterone-producing adenoma and idiopathic adrenal hyperplasia in most cases. Three monogenic forms of mineralocorticoid hypertension have been described: glucocorticoid-suppressible hyperaldosteronism, Liddle's syndrome, and apparent mineralocorticoid excess, which have provided new insights into mineralocorticoid hormone action. Many patients with mineralocorticoid-based hypertension are now known to have normal serum potassium concentrations. Until the true prevalence of primary aldosteronism and monogenic forms of mineralocorticoid hypertension are defined, a high index of suspicion is needed in every hypertensive patient. Hypertensive patients with hypokalaemia, together with those with severe hypertension or a family history of hypertension or stroke, should be screened for mineralocorticoid excess.

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