JOURNAL ARTICLE

Changes in the perceived epidemiology of primary hyperaldosteronism

Riccardo Maria Fagugli, Chiara Taglioni
International Journal of Hypertension 2011, 2011: 162804
21837271
Primary aldosteronism has been considered a rare disease in the past years, affecting 1% of the hypertensive population. Subsequently, growing evidence of its higher prevalence is present in literature, although the estimates of disease range from 5 up to 20%, as in type 2 diabetes and resistant hypertension. The main reasons for these variations are associated with the selection of patients and diagnostic procedures. If we consider that hypertension is present in about 20% of the adult population, primary aldosteronism can no longer be considered a rare disease. Patients with primary aldosteronism have a high incidence of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and kidney complications. The identification of these patients has therefore a practical value on therapy, and to control morbidities derived from vascular damage. The ability to identify the prevalence of a disease depends on the number of subjects studied and the methods of investigation. Epidemiological studies are affected by these two problems: there is not consensus on patients who need to be investigated, although testing is recommended in subjects with resistant hypertension and diabetes. The question of how to determine aldosterone and renin levels is open, particularly if pharmacological wash-out is difficult to perform because of inadequate blood pressure control.

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