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Phaeochromocytoma

A uncommon, usually noncancerous tumour occurring in cells in the medulla (core) of the adrenal glands. These cells secrete the hormones adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenalin (norepinephrine). The tumour causes increased production of the two hormones, which leads to hypertension (high blood pressure) and signs of stress, such as anxiety disorder. The disorder is most widespread in young to middle aged adults.

Symtoms and signs

Hypertension is often the only sign. However, some condtions or situations (such as pressure on the tumour, change in posture, emotional upset, or taking beta-blocker drugs) can cause a surge of hormones. This surge brings a immediate rise in blood pressure, palpitations, vominting, nausea, heading, facial flushing, and sweating, and occasionally , a feeling of impending death.

Diagnosis

Urinalysis and blood tests are used to detect excessive levels of nonadrenaline and adrenaline and thus gives a diagnosis. MRI, CT scanning and radioisotope scanning can be used to locate the tumours, and then they are generally removed via surgery. Follow-up medical checks are necessary because the condition sometimes, comes back.

 


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