Pheochromocytoma | Understanding the Symptoms and Treatments

A pheochromocytoma is a rare nueroendocrine solid lesion made by abnormal cell growth of the medulla of the adrenal glands. It is one of the main reasons for an inessential or secondary hypertension. The adrenal medulla functions well by producing cathecholamines such as epinephrine or more commonly known as adrenaline, which is accountable for keeping your blood pressure and heart rate at bay especially during stressful events. Approximately 1000 patients are being detected with this illness in the United States in a span of one year. It may affect you with just a single tumour or possibly a couple more tumours can be found.

To know if you or someone you know could be suffering from pheochromocytoma, you may check it with the following signs and symptoms stated here: pain of the abdominal area, aching of the chest area, flushing or face blushing often, rise in appetite, being irritable, always nervous, heart palpitations, faster heart rate than normal, acute headache, over sweating diaphoresis, unexpected losing of weight, tremor of the hand, increase in blood pressure, difficulty in sleeping, light headedness, clammy hands, being always nauseous, vomiting, seeing things or visual disturbances, constipation, intolerance to heat, anxiety or panic attack, and increase in blood sugar level. If you feel that you are having any of the following indications, do not rush into things and focus on solving it clinically.

For you to be sure if you really do have pheochromocytoma, it is best if you consult a doctor and undergo some of these tests: Abdominal Computerized Axial Tomography (CT) scan, Adrenal biopsy, blood test for Cathecholamines percentage, Glucose or sugar test, Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintiscan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the abdomen and urine test for Cathecholamines. You may consult for a second opinion just to be sure with the diagnosis, so that you will also be given the proper treatment. For older adult, this is more common, but if you are younger, it is best practice that you undergo some tests first.

Although the best cure would be to eliminate the pheochromocytoma tumor, most often surgery can be delayed. Initially, the production of cathecholamines by the tumour is levelled into the normal state since increased level of it is dangerous during surgery. You will be given a medicine that can help stop or control the secretion of that certain chemical. After the tumour was removed, the patient will be given a medicine to manage the symptoms more. Some times it can become cancerous and may spread, in these cases, you may opt or your doctor may suggest for a chemotheraphy or radiation. You may take beta blockers to stop the spread or secretion of these cathecholamines. You may choose between general or laproscopic (minimally invasive surgery or MIS) surgery.

Even if you have initially been free from this illness, it is still best to never ignore any of the symptoms especially hypertension. Prevention is still better than cure. But if you feel that you are having some of the signs given here, it is better to treat it when it is still young. Pheochromocytoma can be cured, but you do have to be proactive about it.


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