Pheochromocytoma is a non-cancerous tumor of the adrenal gland. This tumor manifests in the one or both of the adrenal glands, which are located above the kidneys. Normally these glands produce hormones for almost every organ in your body. If a tumor obstructs these glands, an excessive amount of hormones is released and causes severe high blood pressure. This increase can then lead to other systemic body problems and cardiovascular problems. Pheochromocytoma is a very rare disease that usually affects people aged between 20 and 50. Surgery to remove the benign growth will often repair blood pressure levels and expel other systems.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is known as a “silent killer” because of its quietness in regards to symptoms. Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushes against the walls of your blood vessels. When this force is too high, it’s considered high blood pressure, or hypertension. In most cases, you might not know you have high blood pressure, although it can come with other symptoms such as dizziness and facial flushes. When linked to pheochromocytoma, the key is to determine if your adrenal glands are blocked by a growth or tumor.
Rapid Heart Beat
The telltale symptom of a rapid heartbeat is when your pulse rate is too high. Heart palpitations are also a strong factor. These palpitations feel like an irregular racing of your heartbeat, or a thumping or flopping feeling in the chest. When your heartbeat is too fast, you may also feel dizzy and may experience fainting. A normal resting heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute for adults. If your heart rate is consistently over 100 beats per minute, then it is considered a high heart rate or pulse rate.
Sweating is a normal bodily function that helps regulate our body temperature. Also known as perspiration, it is made up of a combination of water and small amounts of other chemicals, proteins, and salts. There are five million sweat glands all over the body. Conditions such as pheochromocytoma and adrenal gland deficiency conditions cause the glands to malfunction with then leads to excessive sweating. Epinephrine increases dilation of the blood vessels, increasing blood flow and the heart rate, which and gets the body ready for action with adrenalin, even if you are not engaging in exercise or any other exciting activities
Signs of a general headache are described as a dull ache or general head pain, a feeling of pressure or tightening of the head, and tenderness to touch on your neck, shoulders, and scalp. However, if you are experiencing a severe headache, it borders on migraine symptoms. These include severe pain and throbbing or pulsing in the head on one or both sides. You may experience sensitivity to light and sounds, blurred vision or a feeling of seeing lights behind your eyes. Lightheadedness, nausea, and vomiting also sometimes occur.
Tremors in the body are described as an uncontrollable shaking in various parts of the body. This shaking can occur at brief periods of time and can take the form of shaking or wobbling of the voice, tongue and chin, whole head, hands, and arms. It rarely affects the lower part of the body.Many different afflictions can cause tremors. They are usually derived from nerves and brain conditions or damage. It is, however, also a direct side effect of a pheochromocytoma tumor.
A common symptom of pheochromocytoma is paleness to the skin or a breakout of blotchy or mottled skin color. This paleness also comes with a cold external temperature. It will often appear on the extremities and in rare cases, on the entire body. Caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels near the skin and in the extremities, which results in lower levels of oxygenated hemoglobin, these patches can go from red to dark red and purple and have a pale color to the skin surrounding it. A pheochromocytoma sufferer may also experience paleness in the face as if the blood has drained out of it.
Shortness of Breath
Also called dyspnea or hyperventilation, shortness of breath can feel like you are unable to breathe properly, or deeply for periods of time, or a feeling that you can’t get enough air into your lungs. It is commonly associated with chest and neck pain and can lead to dizziness and fainting. There are many causes of shortness of breath, and your doctor will determine exactly when, how often, how severe the attacks are to make a short list of reasons why it is occurring. It is also a direct reaction to blocked adrenal glands.
Constipation is when bowel movements are difficult and infrequent. If you have three or more days without a bowel movement, then the stools will become tough to pass and may cause significant discomfort. This constipation will make you feel swollen in the belly, and abdominal pain accompanies it.
Anxiety and panic attacks can come directly from a physical condition, as health and the state of our body affect the brain. These attacks can come on suddenly and can create feelings of terror and fear without any great reason. These feelings experienced during a panic attack are disproportionate to the real-life situation. They often go hand-in-hand with other symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat, feeling of being weak or dizzy, sweats and chills, shortness of breath, and general difficulty in breathing.
The adrenal glands are responsible not only for feeding blood flow and oxygen to our body’s organs but also for the releasing of the hormones relative to stress response. The metabolic functions of the body, such as blood sugar regulation and serum calcium, depending on the hormones that adrenal glands regulate. If the glands overwork or there is a blockage, such as is the case with pheochromocytoma, the body stores fat and calories, you crave food, lose energy, and gain weight.