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Definition - What does Catecholamine mean?

A catecholamine (CA) is a type of naturally occurring protein found in the human body. Catecholamines acting as neurotransmitters help direct the activities of the central nervous system. These amines also act as hormones in the body's endocrine system. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine are all catecholamines.

Produced by the adrenal glands, catecholamine levels may fluctuate in response to physical or emotional stress. Other environmental or physical factors such as blood sugar, ambient temperature, and blood loss can also affect catecholamine levels.

SureHire explains Catecholamine

Research into catecholamines (CAs) has revealed that these proteins are involved with many neurological functions. Imbalances of these amines may cause memory impairment and learning difficulties. Heightened levels of catecholamines can sometimes indicate the presence of a pheochromocytoma, or catecholamine secreting tumor.

If the presence of other symptoms lead an individual's physician to suspect that a tumor may be present, a catecholamine urine test (CATU) may be ordered to evaluate the person's amine levels. However, because obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may also cause heightened catecholamine levels, experts recommend that physician rule out OSA as the cause of a CA imbalance before making a diagnosis of pheochromocytoma.

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