Medical Surgical Hyperaldosteronism #1

Question

A nurse caring for a client with hyperaldosteronism would report which concerning symptom to the health care provider?

Answers

  1. Weight loss of 2.2 lbs or 1 kg
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because weight loss of 2.2 lbs (1 kg) is a good sign when a client has hyperaldosteronism. This is because this condition tends to cause hypernatremia and water retention, which generally increases weight.

  2. Headache with pain 6/10
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because headache is a symptom of hyperaldosteronism and can be a concerning symptom. A headache can occur due to extreme hypertension and can become dangerous. Headache also can be a precursor to hypernatremia symptoms of confusion and seizures.

  3. Potassium level of 3.6 mEq/L
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because elevated potassium (hyperkalemia) is most associated with hyperaldosteronism. The potassium level of 3.6 mEq/L is within normal range of blood potassium.

  4. Sodium level of 144 mEq/L
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the sodium level of 144 mEq/L is within normal levels. Hyperaldosteronism generally produces hypernatremia (>145 mEq/L).

Overview

A headache is concerning when a client has hyperaldosteronism because it usually indicates an elevated blood pressure, which can rise to a dangerous level with this condition. Due to the elevated sodium, headache can also be a symptom that occurs just before confusion and seizures.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Hyperaldosteronism is a condition of the endocrine system where one or both adrenal glands produce too much aldosterone hormone. Aldosterone is an endocrine steroid hormone that’s main role in the body is to regulate water and salt, therefore a huge regulator of blood pressure. Too much aldosterone can produce extreme blood pressure in the body. Other effects of hyperaldosteronism is it causes hypokalemia (loss of potassium), hypernatremia (too much sodium), and increased water retention, causing increased blood volume. Symptoms of hyperaldosteronism include headache, confusion, polydipsia, polyuria, fatigue, weakness, and muscle cramps. Symptoms can worsen due to the hypokalemia, hypernatremia, and water retention that causes increased blood volume. Primary causes of hyperaldosteronism are rare and include idiopathic causes, overactive adrenal glands, and adrenal gland tumors. Secondary causes include congestive heart failure and renal stenosis.

Test Taking Tip

Know basic electrolyte normal levels and symptoms of hyperaldosteronism.

Video Rationale