Catecholamines (say "kat-uh-KOH-luh-meens") are hormones made mostly by your adrenal glands as a reaction to stress.
When you feel stressed, these hormones
increase heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle strength, and
mental alertness. They also lower the amount of blood that goes to the skin and intestines. They increase blood going to the major organs, such as the brain, heart, and
kidneys. This helps your body prepare for "fight-or-flight"
Your body breaks down these hormones and passes them into your urine. This test measures how much of these hormones are in your urine over a 24-hour period.
Why It Is Done
catecholamine test is done to help diagnose a rare tumor in
the adrenal glands called a pheochromocytoma.
Tumors like this can cause your adrenal glands to release too many hormones. And that can cause high
blood pressure, excessive sweating, headaches, fast heartbeats,
How To Prepare
You may be asked to avoid certain foods and fluids for 2 to 3 days before the test. They include:
- Caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, and
- Amines. These are found in bananas, walnuts, avocados,
fava beans, cheese, beer, and red wine.
- Any foods or fluids with
Do not use tobacco at all during the 24-hour urine
Be sure to keep warm during the 24 hours. Being cold can raise your catecholamine levels.
plenty of fluids during the 24 hours to avoid
Many medicines can change
the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the
over-the-counter and prescription medicines you take.
Your doctor may ask you to stop certain medicines, such as blood
pressure medicines, before the test. Do not take cold or allergy remedies, aspirin, or diet pills for 2 weeks before the
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about
the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will
mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).