Carcinoid syndrome

November 12, 2012

Carcinoid syndrome

When it comes to carcinoid syndrome one of the first questions that people often ask are which vitamin or dietary supplements are recommended. Most kinds of multiple vitamin supplements can provide many benefits. It is commonly advised however; that all patients suffering from carcinoid syndrome take regular low does of niacin. This can help to prevent subclinical pellagra. Carcinoid cancer and the tumours that are often present along side it are very, small, slow growing tumours which are often growing for years before they start producing symptoms. They are most commonly found in the gastrointestinal system but can also affect other parts of the body such as the lungs. It has been questioned whether or not it is possible for the body to build up tolerance to Sandostatin or IR over time. This is an understanding worry, as patients do not want to continue with treatment if it is becoming less effective. Is thought though, that in most cases there is no substantial resilience being built up. In a few rare cases it has reported that antibodies were produced making it slightly less effective. In other cases the reason behind treatment becoming less effective was in fact down to the tumour size increasing. Generally it is best taken as early on in the development of the disease as possible to prevent carcinoid heart disease, inhibit the growth of the tumour and prevent carcinoid syndrome symptoms.

In approximately 10% of cases, people known to have carcinoid syndrome show no evidence of carcinoid tumours. Normally CT scans are used to detect tumours, where as carcinoid syndrome can be suspected because of symptoms and high levels of 5-HIAA. In order to confirm the diagnosis of carcinoid syndrome, at least one of the following symptoms must be present; increased blood serotonin with decreased blood tryptophan, increased urine 5-HIAA and increased chromogranin or indole-3-acetic acid. At least one of these specifications despite any other symptoms the patient has, need to be true in order to diagnose carcinoid syndrome.

A patient suffering from severe asthma, increased levels of 5-HIAA and facial flushing could possibly have carcinoid syndrome. However further tests should be taken in order to confirm it, such as testing for increased levels of blood serotonin, decreased levels of blood tryptophan and increased levels of chromogranin. The results of these tests will give a batter idea as to whether or not the patient is in fact suffering form carcinoid syndrome. A tumour should then be tested for using a CT scan, MRI scan or finally an OctreoScan.

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