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Definition

Apoplexy is bleeding into a cavity or organ. There are various forms of apoplexy, including:

  • Adrenal apoplexy—bleeding into adrenal glands
  • Pituitary apoplexy—bleeding into the pituitary gland

Pituitary Gland

Pituitary Gland Male

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Apoplexy may be caused by:

  • Tumor growth
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Blood clot
  • Acute illness
  • Drastic changes in blood volume or blood pressure
  • Blood clotting disorders
Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of developing apoplexy include:

  • Hormonal insufficiency
  • Previous surgery
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Injury
  • Sheehan's syndrome—severe blood loss during childbirth
Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Bluish skin color
  • Fever
  • Loss of vision
  • Double vision
  • Confusion
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests

Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Initial treatment will be done to stabilize you. After you have been stabilized, treatment options will be chosen based on the cause and location of your apoplexy. Options include:

  • Medications—to correct hormonal imbalances
  • Surgery—tumor removal if the tumor is the cause
Prevention

There is no known way to prevent apoplexy.

RESOURCES:

Hormone Health Network
http://www.hormone.org

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://www.ninds.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Institute for Health Information
http://www.cihi.ca

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

References:

Pituitary apoplexy . UCLA Health System website. Available at: http://neurosurgery.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=206. Accessed October 8, 2013.



Last reviewed May 2014 by Kim Carmichael, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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