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Specialty Endocrinology

Hypoaldosteronism is an endocrinological disorder characterized decreased levels of the hormone aldosterone. Similarly, isolated hypoaldosteronism is the condition of having lowered aldosterone without corresponding changes in cortisol.[1] (The two hormones are both produced by the adrenals.)


There are several causes for this condition, including adrenal insufficiency, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and some medications such as certain diuretics, NSAIDs, and ACE inhibitors.

  1. Primary adrenal insufficiency
  2. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (21 and 11β but not 17)
  3. Aldosterone synthase deficiency
  • Secondary aldosterone deficiency
  1. Secondary adrenal insufficiency
  2. Diseases of the pituitary or hypothalamus
  • Hyporeninemic hypoaldosteronism (due to decreased angiotensin 2 production as well as intra-adrenal dysfunction)[2]
  1. Renal dysfunction-most commonly diabetic nephropathy
  2. NSAIDs
  3. Ciclosporin




Hypoaldosteronism may result in hyperkalemia and is the cause of 'type 4 renal tubular acidosis', sometimes referred to as hyperkalemic RTA or tubular hyperkalemia. However, the acidosis, if present, is often mild. It can also cause urinary sodium wasting, leading to volume depletion and hypotension.

When adrenal insufficiency develops rapidly, the amount of Na+ lost from the extracellular fluid exceeds the amount excreted in the urine, indicating that Na+ also must be entering cells. When the posterior pituitary is intact, salt loss exceeds water loss, and the plasma Na+ falls. However, the plasma volume also is reduced, resulting in hypotension, circulatory insufficiency, and, eventually, fatal shock. These changes can be prevented to a degree by increasing the dietary NaCl intake. Rats survive indefinitely on extra salt alone, but in dogs and most humans, the amount of supplementary salt needed is so large that it is almost impossible to prevent eventual collapse and death unless mineralocorticoid treatment is also instituted.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Becker, Kenneth L. (2001). Principles and practice of endocrinology and metabolism. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 785–. ISBN 978-0-7817-1750-2. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b DeFronzo RA (1980). "Hyperkalemia and hyporeninemic hypoaldosteronism". Kidney Int. 17 (1): 118–34. doi:10.1038/ki.1980.14. PMID 6990088.
  3. ^ Sebastian A, Schambelan M, Sutton JM (1984). "Amelioration of hyperchloremic acidosis with furosemide therapy in patients with chronic renal insufficiency and type 4 renal tubular acidosis". Am. J. Nephrol. 4 (5): 287–300. doi:10.1159/000166827. PMID 6524600.

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