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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Catecholamines in Urine Test
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" reactions.
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.
A 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, and tremors.
You may be asked to avoid certain foods and fluids for 2 to 3 days before the test. They include:
Do not use tobacco at all during the 24-hour urine collection.
Be sure to keep warm during the 24 hours. Being cold can raise your catecholamine levels.
Drink plenty of fluids during the 24 hours to avoid dehydration.
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 test.
This test is usually done at home. You must collect all the urine you produce in a 24-hour period.
This test usually doesn't cause any pain or discomfort.
There are no known risks from having this test.
Each lab has a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should show the range that your lab uses for each test. The normal range is just a guide. Your doctor will also look at your results based on your age, health, and other factors. A value that isn't in the normal range may still be normal for you.
Low values may be caused by diabetes or some nervous system problems.
Current as of:
December 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAlan C. Dalkin MD - Endocrinology
Current as of: December 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Alan C. Dalkin MD - Endocrinology
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