Pheochromocytoma : Causes - Symptoms- Diagnosis -Treatment


 What is Pheochromocytoma?

Pheochromocytoma is a rare type of tumor caused by a genetic disorder that affects the adrenal glands. It is estimated that around 0.2% of the population will develop it and, if left untreated, can be life-threatening. The tumor produces hormones that cause high blood pressure, excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, and anxiety. Diagnosis is typically made through a combination of imaging tests and lab work to measure hormone levels.

    Medical terms

    Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor that develops in the adrenal glands, which are located on top of each kidney. These tumors arise from chromaffin cells, which are responsible for producing hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine). The excessive release of these hormones can lead to a variety of symptoms and complications.

    Key points about pheochromocytoma include:

    • Hormone Production: Pheochromocytomas often produce excessive amounts of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which can cause symptoms such as high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, sweating, and anxiety.

    • Symptoms: The symptoms of pheochromocytoma can vary and may include severe headaches, palpitations, sweating, anxiety or panic attacks, high blood pressure, and weight loss.

    • Episodic Nature: Symptoms are often episodic, meaning they come and go, and may be triggered by stress, physical activity, or certain medications.

    • Diagnosis: Diagnosis typically involves blood and urine tests to measure levels of catecholamines and metanephrines, imaging studies such as CT or MRI scans, and sometimes nuclear medicine tests.

    • Treatment: Surgical removal of the tumor is the primary treatment for pheochromocytoma. Before surgery, medications are often used to control blood pressure and other symptoms. In some cases, medications may be used as the primary treatment for individuals who are not suitable candidates for surgery.

    • Hereditary Component: Pheochromocytomas can be associated with certain hereditary conditions, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) and von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome. In these cases, screening for pheochromocytoma may be recommended for individuals with a family history of these conditions.

    Instead, it’s defined as the following:

    • Localized pheochromocytoma: The tumor is in a single or each adrenal gland most effective.

    • Regional pheochromocytoma: The cancer has spread to lymph nodes or different tissues close to your adrenal glands.

    • Metastatic pheochromocytoma: The cancer has spread to other parts of your frame, like your liver, lungs, bone or remote lymph nodes.

    • Recurrent pheochromocytoma: The cancer has recurred (come back) after it's been treated. It might also come back within the identical region or in every other part of your body.

    Disease Definition Question and Answer American Hospitals Alternative Medicine

    Symptoms Pheochromocytoma

    Signs and signs and symptoms of pheochromocytoma show up while the tumor releases an excessive amount of adrenaline (epinephrine) or noradrenaline (norepinephrine) into your blood. However, a few pheochromocytoma tumors don’t make extra adrenaline or noradrenaline and don’t cause symptoms (are asymptomatic).

    Signs and symptoms of pheochromocytomas frequently consist of:

    • High blood pressure

    • Headache

    • Heavy sweating

    • Rapid heartbeat

    • Tremors

    • Pallor

    • Shortness of breath

    • Panic attack-type symptoms

    Less not unusual signs or symptoms can also consist of:

    • Anxiety or feel of doom

    • Blurry imaginative and prescient

    • Constipation

    • Weight loss

    Symptomatic spells

    The signs of pheochromocytoma may be regular, or they will occur, or get stronger, every now and then. These spells can take place due to sports or conditions, ingredients excessive in a substance that influences blood pressure (tyramine), and medicinal drugs.

    Certain activities or conditions can make symptoms worse, which includes:

    • Physical tough work

    • Anxiety or pressure

    • Changes in frame position, consisting of going from sitting or lying all the way down to standing

    • Labor and transport

    • Surgery and a drug that reasons you to be in a snooze-like nation throughout surgery (anesthesia)

    Foods excessive in tyramine, a substance that impacts blood strain, can also make symptoms worse. Tyramine is common in meals which might be fermented, aged, pickled, cured, overripe or spoiled. These meals encompass:

    • Some cheeses

    • Some beers and wines

    • Chocolate

    • Dried or smoked meats

    Certain medicinal drugs that could make signs and symptoms worse include:

    • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which includes phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate) and isocarboxazid (Marplan)

    • Stimulants, along with amphetamines or cocaine

    When to look a physician

    Although excessive blood pressure is a primary signal of a pheochromocytoma, most of the people who have excessive blood strain do not have an adrenal tumor. Talk in your fitness care company if any of these elements observe to you:

    • Difficulty controlling high blood stress with current remedy

    • Spells of worsening excessive blood stress

    • A own family history of pheochromocytoma

    • A circle of relatives history of a related genetic sickness: a couple of endocrine neoplasia, type 2 (MEN 2), von Hippel-Lindau disease, hereditary paraganglioma syndromes or neurofibromatosis 1

    Causes Pheochromocytoma

    Researchers do not know precisely what causes a pheochromocytoma. The tumor develops in specialized cells, referred to as chromaffin cells, positioned within the middle of an adrenal gland. These cells launch positive hormones, often adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine). These hormones assist control many body functions, together with heart charge, blood pressure and blood sugar.

    Adrenaline and noradrenaline cause the frame's fight-or-flight response to a perceived risk. The hormones cause blood strain to boom and the heart to conquer faster. They put together different frame structures that enable you to react quickly. A pheochromocytoma causes extra of these hormones to be launched, and it causes them to be launched when you're now not in a threatening state of affairs.

    Most of the chromaffin cells are inside the adrenal glands. But small clusters of these cells also are inside the coronary heart, head, neck, bladder, again wall of the stomach (stomach) and alongside the backbone. Chromaffin cellular tumors positioned outside of the adrenal glands are called paragangliomas. They may additionally have the same outcomes at the frame as a pheochromocytoma.

    Together with:

    • Multiple endocrine neoplasia 2 syndrome, kinds A and B (MEN2A and MEN2B).

    • Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) -Ailment.

    • Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).

    • Hereditary paraganglioma syndrome.

    • Carney-Stratakis dyad [paraganglioma and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)].

    • Carney triad (paraganglioma, GIST and pulmonary chondroma).

    Risk Pheochromocytoma

    Most pheochromocytomas are determined in people between the ages of 20 and 50. But the tumor can develop at any age.

    People who've certain rare inherited disorders have an extended danger of pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma. Tumors related to these disorders are more likely to be cancerous. Tumors also are more likely to occur in both adrenal glands. These genetic conditions include:

    • Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 2 (MEN 2) is an ailment that results in tumors in multiple parts of the endocrine device. There are  types of MEN, kind 2A and kind 2B, that each contain pheochromocytomas. Other tumors related to this situation can appear on different elements of the frame, which include the thyroid, parathyroid, lips, tongue and digestive device.

    • Von Hippel-Lindau sickness can cause tumors at many websites, such as the crucial apprehensive gadget, endocrine gadget, pancreas and kidneys.

    • Neurofibromatosis 1 causes many tumors within the pores and skin (neurofibromas), pigmented pores and skin spots and tumors of the optic nerve.

    • Hereditary paraganglioma syndromes are inherited problems that result in both pheochromocytomas or paragangliomas.

    Complications Pheochromocytoma

    High blood strain can damage organs, mainly tissues of the coronary heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) gadget, brain and kidneys. This damage can purpose several essential situations, which include:

    Cancerous tumors

    Rarely, a pheochromocytoma is cancerous, and the cancerous cells unfold to other parts of the body. Cancerous cells from a pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma most customarily tour to the lymph device, bones, liver or lungs.

    Diagnosis Pheochromocytoma

    Since pheochromocytoma is an unprecedented tumor and is from time to time asymptomatic, it is able to be tough to diagnose. Healthcare companies now and again discover pheochromocytomas while a take a look at or process is executed for some other reason.

    To diagnose pheochromocytoma, your health care provider will likely order numerous assessments.

    Lab tests

    These exams degree tiers of adrenaline, noradrenaline or substances which might be a byproduct of these hormones to your frame:

    • 24-hour urine test. In this test, you gather a urine sample whenever you urinate throughout a 24-hour duration. Ask for written commands about how to store, label and go back the samples.

    • Blood take a look at. An expert will draw blood to be examined within the lab.

    • For each variety of exams, talk with your health care company about special arrangements. For example, you may be asked not to consume for a time period before the test (fast) or skip a medicine. Don't pass a medicine dose without instructions out of your issuer.

    Imaging checks

    If the lab test consequences propose the presence of a pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma, your fitness care company will probably order one or more imaging checks to find a likely tumor. These assessments might also encompass:

    • CT experiment, a specialized X-ray era

    • MRI, which uses radio waves and a magnetic discipline to produce specified images

    • M-iodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) imaging, a scanning technology that may discover tiny amounts of an injected radioactive compound taken up by pheochromocytomas or paragangliomas

    • Positron emission tomography (PET), a scanning era that also can stumble on radioactive compounds taken up with the aid of a tumor

    • A tumor in an adrenal gland might be found at some stage in imaging studies performed for different reasons. If that occurs, your fitness care company will usually order extra checks to find out more approximately the tumor.

    Genetic checking out

    Your fitness care company may advise genetic exams to decide whether or not a pheochromocytoma is related to an inherited disease. Information approximately viable genetic factors may be vital for plenty motives:

    • Some inherited problems can cause more than one situation, so taking a look at effects may advise the need to display screens for other scientific issues.

    • Some issues are more likely to occur once more or be cancerous, so your take a look at effects may have an effect on remedy choices or lengthy-term plans to screen your health.

    • Results from assessments may additionally endorse that other family contributors have to be screened for pheochromocytoma or associated situations.

    Treatment Pheochromocytoma

    The number one remedy for a pheochromocytoma is surgical operation to remove the tumor. Before you have a surgical procedure, your health care company will in all likelihood prescribe precise blood stress medications. These medicines block high-adrenaline hormones to decrease the danger of growing dangerously excessive blood pressure for the duration of surgery.

    Preparations before surgical treatment

    You'll in all likelihood take medicinal drugs for 7 to ten days that help decrease blood strain before surgical treatment. These pills will either update or be delivered to other blood stress medicines you are taking. You can also be endorsed to devour a high-salt diet.

    Medications, including alpha blockers, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, hold smaller veins and arteries open and cozy. This improves blood waft and reduces blood pressure. Some of these medications might also cause your coronary heart to overcome greater slowly and with much less force. This can further lower blood strain.

    Because those medicines widen the blood vessels, they cause the quantity of fluid in the blood vessels to be low. This can cause risky drops in blood stress with status. A high-salt diet will draw more fluid in the blood vessels, preventing low blood strain at some point of and after surgery.


    Usually, the technique for an adrenal tumor is accomplished by the usage of minimally invasive surgical treatment (laparoscopic surgical treatment). Your healthcare professional will make some small cuts (incisions) in your belly (abdomen) to insert wandlike gadgets equipped with video cameras and small gear to perform the surgery.

    In most cases, your health care provider gets rid of the complete adrenal gland with a pheochromocytoma. However, your medical professional may get rid of only the tumor, leaving some healthy adrenal gland tissue. This may be done while the other adrenal gland has also been removed or while there are tumors in each adrenal glands.

    If a tumor is cancerous, the tumor and other cancerous tissue may be removed. Even if all of the cancerous tissue is not removed, surgical operation and scientific remedy would possibly reduce hormone production and offer some blood strain manipulation.

    After surgical operation

    The last healthy adrenal gland can perform the functions commonly performed with the aid of  glands. Blood strain commonly returns to normal. You'll need everyday medical appointments together with your health care issuer for existence to display your fitness, perceive headaches or see if the tumor has back.

    Cancer remedies

    Very few pheochromocytomas are cancerous. As such, research about the exceptional remedies is restricted. Treatments for cancerous tumors and most cancers that has unfold inside the body, related to a pheochromocytoma, may consist of:

    • Targeted healing procedures the use of a drug or compound that seeks out cancer cells, combined with a radioactive substance that kills them. Drug remedies that target unique abnormalities inside most cancer cells that permit them to survive may also be an option.

    • Chemotherapy using powerful drugs that kill fast-growing most cancer cells.

    • Radiation therapy that could relieve signs and symptoms of tumors which have spread to the bone and are inflicting ache.

    • Bowel transplant
    • Psychological rehabilitation for cancer

    Preparing to your appointment

    You're likely to begin by means of seeing your primary health care issuer. Then you are probably noted as a specialist in hormonal disorders (endocrinologist).

    Here's some facts that will help you get ready for your appointment. You may additionally need to take a family member or pal along, if feasible, that will help you recollect the records.

    What you can do

    When you are making the appointment, ask if there may be some thing you need to do in advance, including fasting or making medicinal drug adjustments before having a particular take a look at.

    Before your appointment make a listing of:

    • Your signs and symptoms, which includes any changes from the way you normally feel, when they began and the way long they closing

    • Key non-public statistics, together with predominant stresses, recent lifestyles modifications and circle of relatives medical history

    • All medicinal drugs, vitamins, herbs and different supplements you take, along with doses

    • Questions to ask your healthcare provider

    Questions to ask may also include:

    • What's likely to inflict my signs?

    • Other than the most probable motive, what are other viable causes for my signs?

    • What tests do I want?

    • Is my circumstance probably transient or ongoing?

    • What treatment do you endorse?

    • What are the options to the primary method you are suggesting?

    • I produce other fitness situations. How can I exceptionally control them together?

    • Are there restrictions I need to comply with?

    • Should I see a specialist?

    • Are there brochures or different printed fabric I will have? What websites do you endorse?

    Don't hesitate to ask other questions for the duration of your appointment.

    What to assume out of your health practitioner

    Your fitness care provider is in all likelihood to ask you questions, which include:

    • Have your signs been continuous, or do they arrive and cross?

    • Does something seem to enhance your signs?

    • What, if anything, appears to trigger or worsen your signs and symptoms?

    • Have you been diagnosed with other clinical conditions? If so, what remedy are you getting?

    • Do you have a circle of relatives with a history of adrenal or other endocrine tumors?

    General summary

    Because pheochromocytoma is a rare condition and its symptoms can mimic other medical conditions, diagnosis and management should be carried out by healthcare professionals with experience in dealing with adrenal tumors and endocrine disorders. Early detection and appropriate treatment are essential for a favorable outcome. If you suspect you may have pheochromocytoma or are experiencing symptoms, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation.

    Next Post Previous Post