Pheochromocytoma

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2008 by pheochromocytoma

A Brief History

Pheochromocytoma is one of the most unknown diseases known to medical science, Pheochromocytoma was discovered in 1881 when an autopsy was conducted on a man who died from a heart attack, the surgeon accidently cut open his abdomen under his left lung, near the adrenal gland, and when this surgeon saw this gland he realised the tumor and then it was named Pheochromocytoma – Latin for the unknown. So this is how the tumor got it’s name, the largest name in human anatomy for anything.

What is Pheochromocytoma?

Pheochromotocytoma was generally thought to only be formed in the adrenal gland, but as medicine advanced, it was soon noted that a strange type of Pheochromotocytoma can be existing in the human kidney, most probably in the form of a sist no longer than 10mm or 1 centimeter (Metric System not Imperial system) usually found within the Ureter, this usually forms one kidney to appear sightly larger than the other (in most cases the left) . The most popular name for Pheochromotocytoma is the 10 per cent tumor, this is because any type of Pheochromocytoma is a slow and dreadfully devastating disease, it will take years to actually effect you.

What can Pheochromocytoma do to you?

Pheochromocytoma can make you get severe headaches, high blood pressure, weakness, fevers, spinal structural pain, excess sweating, palpitations, anxiety, nausea, weight loss, Pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and heat intolerance. These are the so called ‘short term’ effects of Pheochromocytoma, but in reality if Pheochromocytoma isn’t treated it can cause severe kidney problems, and this can lead to stress and in turn will cause permanent damange to your heart, it is adviced if you are diagonised with Pheochromocytoma to do an immediate laparoscopic adrenalectomy, Pheochromocytoma is one of the most horrid diseases in the book if not treated, it can dismantle your immune system, make you feel very weak and feeble to fevers and so on, but usually the symtoms disappear if you go from a really warm climate to a cool climate. If you have highblood pressure before the age of 35 i highly recommend you to test for pheochromocytoma you can test for pheochromocytoma a 24 hour urinary catacholamines and metanephrines. This study is designed to measure production of the different types of adrenaline compounds that the adrenal makes. Since the body gets rid of these hormones in the urine, we simply collect a patient’s urine for 24 hours and determine if they are over-produced. This test measures different types of adrenaline (epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine) as well as the break-down products of these compounds which the liver and kidney have degraded. Since these compounds are concentrated in the urine, this test is very good at making the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. Another way to test for it is by doing the Serum catacholamines test it is a study that measures adrenaline compounds in the blood. It is not as sensitive a test for pheochromocytoma as the 24 hour urine test (sometimes the urine test will be positive and the blood test will be negative), but it still can give important information if it shows elevated adrenaline levels. In the long run Pheochromocytoma can hurt your vital organs such as your liver, kidneys and the heart. If you have bad heart/kidney/liver problems as well as Pheochromocytoma and you think their is no use of testing again – your wrong. If you remove the tumor your organs will remain damaged, but they won’t futher detoriate and the progress downwards will hault and if you do the proper treatments maybe they will start to reverse

By Kate Norman, University of Houstan, Student ID- 16091981, Course Number – 34A, Professor – Alexis Bledel

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