The adrenal medulla is in the center of the adrenal glands. This area of the adrenal glands produces epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones that impact blood pressure, metabolism and the cardiovascular system. Pheochromocytoma is a tumor that grows in the adrenal medulla, impacting adrenaline production. Danny Shouhed, M.D. is a board certified general surgeon who specializes in adrenal disorders, including offering pheochromocytoma treatment at his practice in Los Angeles.
Causes and Symptoms of Pheochromocytoma
The exact cause of pheochromocytoma, or adrenal medulla tumors, is not always known. There are certain diseases and genetic disorders that can increase the risk of these tumors. Most tumors that cause pheochromocytoma are benign, but malignant tumors are possible. The symptoms of pheochromocytoma include:
- High blood pressure
- Excessive perspiration
- Racing heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Pale face
- Anxiety or panic-attack symptoms
The tumor begins in the chromaffin cells that release the epinephrine and norepinephrine, resulting in higher levels of these stimulating hormones. Using stimulant drugs like cocaine or consuming foods high in tyramine can make symptoms of pheochromocytoma worse. While high blood pressure can be caused by many factors, patients with pheochromocytoma will also have the effects of increased adrenaline in their system.
The best pheochromocytoma treatment is removal of the tumor by removing the adrenal glands. Pheochromocytoma usually only occurs in one adrenal gland, but it is possible to have tumors in both glands. Before surgery, patients are usually put on medication to lower their blood pressure to reduce risks of life-threatening spikes in blood pressure during surgery.
Danny Shouhed, M.D. is one of the top abdominal general surgeons who offers minimally-invasive surgery for adrenal gland tumor removal. If you have been diagnosed with pheochromocytoma, treatment is available through Dr. Shouhed. Contact our office in Los Angeles to schedule a consultation to discuss your treatment options.