I updated my database entry at the Yahoo Hyperaldosteronism Group earlier today. One of the questions is a pretty standard checklist of symptoms before treatment. I’ve bolded (and turned red) the ones I have now (or have experienced in the past).
- heart palpitations or irregular heart beat
- poorly controlled blood pressure despite multiple meds
- brain fog or feeling of confusion
- getting up at night to pee
- muscle cramps, tremors or twitches
- numbness or tingling of extremeties
- episodes of unexplained sweating/flushing/feeling hot
- muscle weakness
- unexplained chest pain
- unexplained thirst
- metallic taste in mouth
- unexplained feeling of anxiety
Many of these – palpitations, muscle cramps, numbness and tingling, muscle weakness – are caused by the low potassium that is typical in the later stages of PA. Quite frankly, this is the part of PA that worries me the most – I walked around with low potassium for at least 4 years due to the general incompetence of my former doctors, and this is serious stuff – it could kill you. If this and only this was resolved by the surgery, I would consider it a success.
To the above list, I would also like to add these issues that, with luck, will resolve:
- insulin resistance
- reactive hypoglycemia
- severe, life-disrupting menstrual irregularities
- adult-onset cystic acne
- vision disturbances
- hair loss ( I leave DNA evidence everywhere!)
- dark hair growth on chin and upper lip
- water retention after eating salt (up to 7 pounds (!) from a single restaurant meal)
I’ve been living with all of the above, in various combinations and varying levels of severity, for at least the past ten years. The reactive hypo and salt sensitivity I’ve had since childhood. Even if the surgery does not fully resolve the blood pressure issues, if even half of those symptoms go away, I will be a very happy person.*
Have I missed anything? Fellow PA sufferers, how about you – what symptoms would you like to see go away?
*Somewhat unfortunately, removal of the misbehaving adrenal will not resolve my dietary issues with fructose- and gluten-intolerance. Nor will it make my tendency to be allergic to everything go away. But hey, I’ll take what I can get!