Medical Conditions | Uncategorized

phaeochromocytoma

Rare tumour in the adrenal medulla, usually occurring in young people and causing excessive production of adrenalin and noradrenalin. The adrenal hormones normally operate with the nervous system to regulate heartbeat, blood pressure and metabolism. Adrenalin and noradrenalin are stress hormones which prepare the body for additional effort. In phaeochromocytoma they are overproduced to the extent that small stimuli such as climbing stairs or an argument cause abnormal behaviour, like loss of temper. The attacks last for several hours, and are characterized by severe sweating, headache, raised blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and redness or pallor of the face. Other long-term symptoms are loss of weight despite increased appetite, and extreme lowering of blood pressure on standing up from a lying or sitting position, which can cause vertigo or fainting. Examination should be made of the level of the hormones concerned in the blood, and the possibility of a tumour in the adrenal glands should be investigated. Treatment is by removal of the (usually benign) tumour, and by careful regulation of blood pressure by medication.

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