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Pheochromocytoma causes hyperfunction of the adrenal part indigenous, which develops in the cells of the central adrenal glands.
The adrenal glands are responsible for producing hormones that allow properly operate practically any other substantially organ and tissue in our body, and the emergence of the state, which is the pheochromocytoma, interferes with many of the processes.
If the indigenous part of the of the adrenal appears pheochromocytoma, adrenal glands begin to release hormones that cause a permanent or temporary increase in blood pressure. If left untreated, the disorder can cause serious and even life-threatening damage to our other systems of the body – in particular in the cardiovascular system.
Most patients with overactive adrenal part of the indigenous, are people aged between 20 and 50 years of age. The treatment of the disease often involves procedure with surgical tumor removal, which usually makes the blood pressure returns to normal.
The symptoms of pheochromocytoma
Since overactive indigenous part of the adrenal glands caused by a pheochromocytoma affects irregular blood pressure associated with impaired secretion of adrenal hormones, symptoms may include:
- fast and rapid heartbeat,
- profuse sweating,
- severe headaches,
- paleness of face,
- shortness of breath,
- anxiety and depression,
- stomach pain,
- sudden weight loss.
Often, additional triggers the onset of symptoms associated with overactive adrenal are:
- physical effort,
- fears and exposure to intense stress,
- sudden changes in the position of the body,
- in women – childbirth,
- eating foods rich in tyramine – substances that increase blood pressure (found primarily in fermented products, marinated, dried, overripe or the products that are spoiled), among foods with this substance we can list some cheeses, wines, beer, dried and smoked meats, avocados, bananas, beans, fish marinated, pickled cabbage (kimchi)
- use of certain drugs that may raise blood pressure as decongestants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and the like;
- stimulants such as amphetamine or cocaine.
Symptoms associated with adrenal pheochromocytoma can be caused by various factors, and it is, therefore, important to achieve a rapid diagnosis.
The causes of pheochromocytoma
It is not entirely detected, the reasons for the formation of pheochromocytoma, as it develops from individual cells in the central part of the adrenal gland. These cells produce the release of certain hormones like adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine).
These hormones are responsible for the readiness of our body’s reaction as a result of threats. The sudden rise in the blood pressure, faster heart rate and speed up the functioning of other body systems, allows us to respond quickly and increased energy. When there is pheochromocytoma, it may lead to similar reactions of the body for no apparent reason.
Risk factors that increase the chances of the emergence of the problem of overactive adrenal part of the indigenous are infrequent hereditary challenges and cancers as:
- multiple neoplasia hormone type II
- the disease von Hippel-Lindau,
- hereditary paraganglioma teams.
Complications of the disease, mostly related to inadequate treatment of hypertension are:
- heart diseases,
- renal failure,
- acute respiratory failure,
- the optic nerve,
- cancers – the most common malignant.
Diagnosis and treatment of pheochromocytoma
The first tests for the diagnosis of the problem, which is the pheochromocytoma, are laboratory tests on the levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, or by-products of these hormones in the body. Is carried out, among other things:
Successively are performed imaging studies like CT, MRI, MIBG or PET. Sometimes, however, the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma is a coincidence and occurs during research associated with other health problems. They are often used as genetic tests that allow discovering the relationship of the disease with a hereditary disorder.
The treatment of a pheochromocytoma usually requires a surgical procedure which removes the tumor. Before the procedure are used high blood pressure medicines.
Side effects of the surgery may be irregular heartbeat, dizziness, fatigue, vision problems, sexual dysfunction in males or swelling of the extremities. Depending on the cause of the problem can also be used other medications, surgical procedures and different methods for the treatment of tumors, if one is dealing with the changes in cancerous conditions.