Preparing for your appointment

Since the symptoms of primary aldosteronism aren't always obvious, your doctor may be the one to suggest you set up an appointment to get screened for the condition. Your doctor may suspect primary aldosteronism if you have high blood pressure and:

  • Your blood pressure remains persistently high, especially if you're already taking at least three medications for it (resistant hypertension)
  • You have low blood potassium — although many people with primary aldosteronism have normal potassium levels, especially in the early stages of the disease
  • You have a growth on one of your adrenal glands, incidentally found on an imaging test taken for another reason
  • You have a personal or family history of high blood pressure or stroke at a young age

The screening test for primary aldosteronism may require some planning. The test can be performed while you're taking most blood pressure medications, but you may need to discontinue taking certain drugs, such as spironolactone (Aldactone) and eplerenone (Inspra), up to six weeks before testing. Your doctor may also ask you to avoid real licorice products for a couple of weeks before the test, as these can cause changes that mimic excess aldosterone.