The metanephrine free plasma test is prescribed as a screening test to detect a rare form of tumor. The human body is equipped with a survival mode of flight or fight. The catecholamines hormones are responsible to prepare the body to stay alert and operate the mechanism. This also leads to stress. When the situation is overcome, the hormones dissipate. But, in rare cases, the body is always in a state of stress. This can cause damage to other vital organs. Thus, the metanephrine free plasma test is prescribed.
The metanephrines (metanephrine and normetanephrine) are substances (metabolites) that are made when the catecholamines are broken down by the body. When the metabolites are not excreted properly or if there is an abundance of the same in the body, the following symptoms are seen:
The plasma free metanephrines test is prescribed when the doctors suspect the following:
The catecholamines are hormones that are released by the adrenal glands and the brain. These include dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. When the body undergoes stress, the catecholamines are released to work on generating more energy and helping dilate the air passages. The body is prepared to counter stressful situations. When the hormones have done their job, they are metabolized and released into the blood. They are later removed from the body via urine.
The test measures the presence of these metabolites in the body to ascertain if the person is suffering from the above-mentioned conditions. The tumors are rare conditions and are usually benign. That said, the constant stress that the body lives in can lead to other conditions like heart diseases or kidney failure.
Sometimes, genetic disorders can lead to the development of these tumors. The mutation of certain genes by these disorders leads to adrenal gland tumors. The genetic disorders are:
The metanephrine plasma test is done by collecting blood from the patient. There are no known risks or side effects associated with the blood test. An experienced phlebotomist can insert the needle in a vein and draw blood without causing too much pain or taking too much time.
People who are anemic can feel dizzy or nauseated, once the blood is drawn. But, these are temporary side effects that can be relieved with proper rest and by eating vitamin-rich food.
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The metanephrines are formed when the body is stressed out. Factors like starving, taking too much caffeine, or working out too much can lead to the level being higher than normal.
While they both are associated with the adrenal glands, they are different forms of tumors.
The chance of complete recovery depends on various factors like detection period and the medication doing the job. Consulting a doctor for the same is crucial.
The metanephrines present in the body as catecholamines are constantly metabolized. But, the levels of these metabolites are small and they often fluctuate on a regular basis. The levels are measured in picograms per milliliter or pg/mL. The normal levels are:
Levels higher than these means that further testing for the type of tumor needs to be prescribed.
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