Catecholamines, Fractionated, plasma
This panel contains the following tests:
The adrenal glands make large amounts of catecholamines as a reaction to stress. The main catecholamines are epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and dopamine. Catecholamines help the body respond to stress or fright and prepare the body for "fight-or-flight" reactions.
Catecholamines increase heart rate (palpitations), blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle strength, and mental alertness. They also lower the amount of blood going to the skin and increase blood going to the major organs, such as the brain, heart, and kidneys.
Certain rare tumors of the adrenal glands can also increase the amount of catecholamines in the blood and urine.
A 4 or more hour fast is required for this blood test. However, drink water to stay hydrated and take your medications as prescribed. Walnuts, bananas, and smoking should be avoided for a week prior to the blood test.
Epinephrine, epinephrine-like drugs, and alpha-methyldopa are all medications that can invalidate the results of this test.
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