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Diagnosis Mistakes » Pheochromocytoma can mimic an anxiety attack

Pheochromocytoma can mimic an anxiety attack

Pheochromocytoma is a tumour of the adrenal glands which secretes excessive amounts of catecholamines such as epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. It usually occurs in young patients and is not an easily diagnosed as it is usually mistaken for an anxiety attack, essential hypertension or a case of hyperthyroidism. The patient usually presents with symptoms of sympathetic overactivity which leads to symptoms such as palpitation, anxiety, increased heart rate, headache and most importantly orthostatic hypotension etc. It is also associated with genetic syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes. Early diagnosis is needed so that the tumour can be excised surgically.

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