What are adrenal
Tumors of the adrenal glands are rare.
However, when present, they can cause a
multitude of disorders by excessively
secreting certain adrenal-produced hormones.
One type of tumor of the adrenal glands is
called a pheochromocytoma.
What is a
A pheochromocytoma is a benign adrenal gland
tumor that secretes epinephrine and
norepinephrine hormones. These hormones are
responsible for regulating heart rate and
blood pressure, among other functions.
Pheochromocytomas occur most frequently in
young to middle-aged adults between the ages
of 30 and 60.
What are the
symptoms of pheochromocytoma?
The most common symptom of pheochromocytoma
is high blood pressure, which is sometimes
extreme. Other symptoms are usually
nonexistent, unless the person experiences
pressure from the tumor, emotional stress,
changes in posture, or is taking
beta-blocker drugs for a heart disorder.
Each individual may experience symptoms
differently. Other symptoms may include:
of pheochromocytoma may resemble other
conditions or medical problems. Consult a
physician for diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history
and medical examination, diagnostic
procedures for pheochromocytoma may include:
and urine tests to measure hormone
tomography (CT or CAT scan) - a
non-invasive procedure that takes
cross-sectional images of the brain or
other internal organs; to detect any
abnormalities that may not show up on an
radioisotope scan - uses radioactive
substances introduced into the body to
create an image of the functioning
Treatment for pheochromocytoma usually
includes removing the tumor. Before removing
the tumor, however, your physician may
prescribe drugs to control high blood
pheochromocytomas can be malignant and may
metastasize to other organs. Chemotherapy
following resection of the primary tumor is
the treatment of choice for malignant