Q:

What are the symptoms of pheochromocytoma?

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Quick Answer

The symptoms of pheochromocytoma include pallor, chest pain, abdominal pain, irritability, nervousness, palpitations, sweating, weight loss, rapid heart rate and severe headache, notes the United States National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus. Other symptoms that can occur with this condition include sleeping difficulty, hand tremor and hypertension. Most of the symptoms appear during attacks when the tumor releases hormones.

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Full Answer

Pheochromocytoma is an uncommon tumor that occurs in the adrenal gland tissue, notes MedlinePlus. It occurs due to the release of excess epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones that regulate heart pulse, and blood pressure. The tumors grow in the center of one or both adrenal glands, and very few of these tumors are cancerous. The tumor can affect the person of any age, but it is common in people between the age of 20 to 50. If left untreated, the tumor can lead to severe or life-threatening damage to other body parts.

Treatment for pheochromocytoma involves removal of the tumor through a surgical operation. The doctor uses certain medications to stabilize a patient's heart pulse and blood pressure prior to the surgery. Staying in the hospital after the procedures allows a doctor to monitor the patient for any complications. In some cases, a surgery cannot be an effective method, a doctor prescribes medication that control the hormones to manage the tumor.

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