What is pheochromocytoma, symptoms, causes and treatment

Pheochromocytoma is a generally noncancerous (benign) tumor that occurs in the adrenal gland. It is also known as adrenal gland tumor. We have two adrenal glands in our body, one on each kidney. Pheochromocytoma usually occurs in 1 adrenal gland. Pheochromocytoma most often occurs in people between the ages of 20 and 50. The most common symptom of this tumor is high blood pressure.

What are the Symptoms of Pheochromocytoma?

  1. Hypertension
  2. Headache
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Severe sweating
  5. Rapid heart rate
  6. Shake
  7. Nausea
  8. Abdominal pain
  9. Weight loss
  10. High blood sugar
  11. Irritability
  12. Pale skin
  13. Constipation
  14. Panic attack sensation
  15. Blurred vision
  16. Nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  17. Chest pain
  18. Unintentional tremors
  19. Pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  20. Anxiety and worry
  21. Increased appetite
  22. Weight loss
  23. Excessive thirst and urination
  24. Insomnia
  25. Tingling, burning, or numbness in the legs and feet
  26. Shortness of breath
  27. Muscle weakness
  28. Back pain
  29. Weight loss
  30. Belly (abdominal) pain or bloating
  31. Staying weak despite a good appetite
  32. It affects adrenaline production and can cause high blood pressure and other health problems.

How Is Pheochromocytoma Diagnosed?

The following methods are used for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma;

  1. Urine and blood test
  2. CT scan
  3. Ultrasound
  4. MRI scan
  5. PET scan

What Causes Pheochromocytoma?

The exact cause of pheochromocytoma is not known exactly. Genetic factors are thought to play a role in this disease. Approximately 25% of pheochromocytoma are hereditary. Approximately one-third of pheochromocytoma cases have been found to inherit a mutated gene from their parents. The other two-thirds of cases have no known cause (idiopathic). If you have this disease in your family or in the upper generations, the risk of it increases.

The tumor can be caused by both genes and environmental factors. About a quarter of cases are part of an inherited disease as follows.

Tumors or other hormonal disorders in other glands of the body can also trigger this disease. Iron or copper deficiencies and eating foods high in manganese can also lead to illness.

Is Pheochromocytoma Cancer?

Pheochromocytoma is a tumor in the adrenal gland. It causes the gland to produce too much of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Most of this tumor is benign. So it is not usually cancer. However, rarely can it be cancer. If a pheochromocytoma is not diagnosed and treated immediately and the tumor is cancerous, the chance of survival is reduced.

What is the Treatment for Pheochromocytoma?

In the treatment of this disease, controlling high blood pressure with medications is the first step. Once your blood pressure is normal, surgery can be used to treat the problem.

The diseased adrenal gland can be removed by laparoscopic, robotic, or open surgery. Most of the time, the entire adrenal gland is surgically removed. If the tumor is in a small part of the adrenal gland, only the diseased part of the gland is removed. The healthy part of the gland remains. If the blood pressure is well controlled, the hospital stay is 1-2 days. Most people can return to normal activity after about 2 weeks. Surgery, that is, surgery is the most common treatment method in this disease. Other treatment alternatives include radiation therapy, chemotherapy.

What Are the Complications of Pheochromocytoma?

Pheochromocytoma can cause complications;

  1. Hypertension
  2. Irregular heartbeat
  3. Heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis)
  4. Heart attack
  5. Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)

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