A pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor of the adrenal gland. The adrenal
glands are located adjacent to the kidneys and produce important
hormones and other substances critical to normal body function. Most
of these tumors are non-malignant (not cancer) and do not spread to
other parts of the body. A pheochromocytoma causes problems by
producing excess amounts of the chemical epinephrine (adrenaline),
which raises blood pressure and heart rate. Adults are most commonly
affected, usually between the ages of 30 and 50.
Symptoms may include:
• Episodes of rapid heartbeat, tremors and nervousness, anxiousness,
hunger, flushing, sweating, paleness, weakness, and fatigue,
accompanied by very high blood pressure and headaches.
• Unexplained weight loss
• Episodes may occur only rarely or as often as several times a day
WHAT YOUR DOCTOR CAN DO:
• Diagnose pheochromocytoma by asking about your symptoms, doing a
physical exam, laboratory tests, and x-rays.
• Prescribe any of several medications to relieve symptoms and
reduce blood pressure.
• Recommend surgery to remove an affected adrenal gland.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:
• Untreated pheochromocytoma can cause organ damage from high blood
pressure, and may lead to a stroke.
CALL 1061 OR SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL
If you experience symptoms that may be due to pheochromocytoma.