Apoplexy

Definition

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

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Causes

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

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of apoplexy include:

  • Hormonal insufficiency
  • Previous surgery
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Injury
  • Severe blood loss during childbirth—Sheehan’s syndrome

Symptoms

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

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

Imaging tests assess bodily structures. These may include:

Treatment

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

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent apoplexy.

RESOURCES:

Hormone Health Network—Endocrine Society 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://pituitary.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=48
Accessed October 8, 2013.

Last reviewed June 2015 by Kim Carmichael, MD
Last Updated: 6/4/2014

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