Time to revisit high blood pressure and primary aldosteronism

If you or someone you love is taking tablets for high blood pressure, now would be a good time to learn more about primary aldosteronism, a condition that has recently been declared: "the most common specifically treatable and potentially curable form of hypertension" (BMJ, 2021). 

Indeed, if you were to ask your doctor about primary aldosteronism tomorrow, you might be told that it's rare, but that is not true. Recent advances in medical science have confirmed that PA is the most common cause of high blood pressure. If you are academically-inclined, here is one of the landmark studies of PA prevalence: The Unrecognized Prevalence of Primary Aldosteronism: A Cross-sectional Study.

Primary aldosteronism—also known as Conn's syndrome, not Cobb's syndrome—is a condition in which your adrenal glands produce too much aldosterone and this causes your body to retain sodium and lose potassium. Here are some clues that you might have PA:
  • your blood pressure is high despite taking BP medication
  • your sodium level is on the high side despite cutting back on salt in your diet
  • your potassium level is on the low side despite taking prescription potassium supplements and eating lots of bananas
As I learned from my experience as a heart patient, untreated primary aldosteronism leads to elevated blood pressure and can increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and atrial fibrillation. I spent several decades being treated for high blood pressure by doctors who kept telling me to eat more bananas and less salt, even as excess aldosterone was damaging my heart. (Hint: you will never eat enough bananas to defeat PA.)

These days, there is a whole lot of information on this widely undiagnosed condition at the Primary Aldosteronism Foundation website.You can read about my experience with PA, which eventually led to my high blood pressure being cured through adrenal gland surgery, on my Primary Aldosteronism page, and in my previous blog posts about my adrenalectomy:

WELCOME

My name is Stephen Cobb and this is my personal blog. Here you will find info about me, my interests in life, and several medical conditions that have affected my life, such as primary aldosteronism (see the link at the top of the page). 

I was born and raised in Coventry, in the middle of England, in the middle of the last century. After going to university—first in Leeds and then in Canada—I travelled the world for several decades before moving back to the city of my birth with my partner and our adopted cat, Lola (seen on the left in the picture on the right, the one not wearing glasses).

My partner of 35 years, the phenomenal Chey Cobb, is a US citizen legally resident in the UK. (I am a citizen of both the UK and the US.) We have both spent, and continue to spend, a lot of time researching how humans create and confront technology risks and health challenges. I write about my research for a variety of websites and publications, like:
This blog is where I write about more personal stuff, like: the fact that I'm retired, although I'm still open to interesting projects; my plans to publish another book, but I'm not sure when; my attempts to raise awareness of the medical problems which disabled my partner; the role of registered carers and how it can be supported; my hopes for the demise of the patriarchal medical establishment that continues to fail women so badly. 
Photo of a Minolta lens on my Olympus camera

On a lighter note, Chey thought I should get a hobby to take my mind off things, so I'm now into classic glass photography. That's using classic lenses from old 35mm film camera to take pictures with modern digital cameras (for example, the Minolta lens on my Olympus camera shown here). I will write more about my hobby here on this blog. 

If you want to contact me, you can use the form on this page or DM me @zcobb on Twitter. 

Note: I am aware of some issues and missing images in some older articles on this site—a side-effect of moving this blog from WordPress to Blogger—I'm fixing them as and when I can.