Pheochromocytoma

(Pheo; Adrenal Gland Tumor; Pheochromocytosis)

Definition

Pheochromocytoma is a tumor. It is made up of special adrenal gland cells. The cells secrete hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones help to regulate the heart rate and blood pressure. The cells may secrete excessive amounts of the hormones. This results in periods of:Most of these tumors are benign and grow on the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys. Other tumors occur elsewhere in the body.
Adrenal Glands
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Causes

In most cases, pheochromocytoma has no known cause. In others, it is caused by a genetic mutation.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of pheochromocytoma include:
  • A family history
  • Tumors in other glands of the body
  • Hormonal disorders
Genetic diseases associated with pheochromocytoma include:

Symptoms

Most people don't have symptoms. In people who have them, pheochromocytoma may cause:
  • Severe headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fast heart rate
  • Sensation of a panic attack
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Pounding heart beat
  • Chest pain
  • Involuntary trembling
  • Pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Warmth, flushing
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure, which can be constant or sporadic
  • Tingling, burning, or numbness in the legs and feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Unable to cope with high temperature
  • Aggressive or unusual behavior

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