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What are the symptoms of a pheochromocytoma?
Someone with a pheochromocytoma usually has three classic symptoms --
sweating, and heart palpitations (a fast heart beat) in association with
markedly elevated blood pressure (hypertension). Other conditions that may
accompany these classic symptoms are as follows: anxiety, nausea, tremors,
weakness, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
Some people, however, never develop symptoms of a pheochromocytoma. Up to 10%
of cases are discovered incidentally, meaning that they are not suspected and
only found when the patient is undergoing diagnostic studies for other
conditions. In some cases, the high blood pressure comes and goes and may be
difficult to document. In other cases, the blood pressure is consistently
elevated and easily recorded.
Pheochromocytomas are present in only about 0.2% of all people with high
blood pressure. There are certain conditions, however, in which the diagnosis of
pheochromocytoma may rank high on the list of possibilities; they are discussed