A pheochromocytoma (fe-o-kro-mo-si-TOE-muh) is a rare, usually noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops in the core of an adrenal gland. You have two adrenal glands, one just above each of your kidneys. Your adrenal glands produce hormones that give instructions to virtually every organ and tissue in your body.

If you have a pheochromocytoma, your adrenal glands can produce too much of certain hormones, raising your blood pressure and heart rate. A pheochromocytoma may be life-threatening if unrecognized or untreated.

A pheochromocytoma can develop at any age, but most commonly occurs in middle age. Usually, treatment for pheochromocytoma can return blood pressure to normal.

Apr. 05, 2011