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Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: Producing too much Adrenaline?


 yorkie07 - Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:51 pm

For the past year I have been suffering constent bouts of palpatations and tachycardia, along with high blood pressure and tiredness. After alerting my doctor I was referred to a cardiologist who put me forward for an echo and holter monitor. Since then the results of my echo have come back as being fine however while wearing the holter monitor my heart rate was was reaching speeds of 175bpm while resting, which isn't normal for a young, relatively healthy 19 year old. At the time the cardiologist asked me to monitor these bouts myself and informed me he would be in touch. Since then my doctor has also asked me to regularly check my bp which usually sits around 170/110, which I believe is also quite high.

This week I recieved a letter from the cardiologist asking me to undertake a 72 hour urine collection as he believes my body may be producing too much adrenaline.. this is where I require your help.

I believe this condition is usually stress/anxiety related, however I am neither. Do u know of any other cause for the body to do this and is there any treatment/surgery to correct it.

Many thanks.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed May 06, 2009 8:19 pm

User avatar Hi there--

Your doctor is definitely on the right track, since you don't appear to be an anxious person, even in the midst of a lot of symptoms that would cause anxiety in many people. And the way to determine this is via a 24 hour urine test, which will hopefully show if you are producing excess adrenaline, usually due to a condition called pheochromocytoma. This is most often caused by one or more adrenal tumors, which can be on the adrenal glands or can exist independently in other parts of the body internally and are often difficult to visualize via the usual ways. These tumors can be malignant but are usually benign, and what they cause is what you're describing, not only rapid heart rate but spiking blood pressures, both even present at rest. The treatment for pheochromcytoma is usually removal or destruction of the tumors, which produce adrenaline just as the native adrenal glands do, which is how the levels get high enough to cause this sort of response by the body. and interrupting the functoning of the tumors, if they are present, is the way to get things back to normal. In the meantime this is sometimes treated medically with drugs, especially beta blockers, which work by blocking the body's uptake of adrenaline. If your 24 hour urine test is positive, you'll have your answer.

There are other possible disorders that can cause this, but they are more rare and would come further down the chain of exploration if this doesn't pan out. I really don't believe this sounds like classic anxiety to me at all, so it would actually be a very good thing if the test shows you to have pheochromocytoma, which can usually be managed, controlled or eliminated.

I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck, and please update us as to the outcome of your test.

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