Clinical Presentation

Because of their location, adrenal tumours seldom present with symptoms due to mass effect. Rarely, a large adrenal carcinoma may cause abdominal pain, low-grade fever (due to tumour necrosis) and a palpable mass. Instead, presentation is more often as an incidental finding on CT scanning of the abdomen or as a result of symptoms related to hormones secreted by the adrenal tumour. These hormones give rise to characteristic constellations of symptoms and signs (clinical syndromes) and the initial diagnosis may be confirmed by appropriate biochemical investigation, after excluding an exogenous cause of hormone excess.

Hypercortisolism (Cushing's syndrome): central weight gain, "moon face", thin skin, striae, bruising, hirsutism, hypertension, osteoporosis, proximal myopathy.

Hyperaldosteronism (Conn's syndrome): urinary frequency, weakness, hypertension, hypo-kalaemia, hypernatraemia, metabolic alkalosis.

Hypoadrenalism/adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease): anorexia, weight loss, fatigue, cutaneous pigmentation, orthostatic hypotension, hyponatraemia, hyperkalaemia, metabolic acidosis. Virilising adrenal tumours: hirsutism and primary amenorrhoea.

Phaeochromocytoma: headaches, sweating, anxiety, chest pain, tachycardia, tremor, (paroxysmal) hypertension.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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