The progressive condition of hypothyroidism is known as myxedema that occurs due to a lack of thyroid hormone production. In the front region of the neck, a small gland is situated, which is called the thyroid. Various functions and regulation of the body for energy are facilitated by hormones released by the thyroid gland.
1) Untreated and undiagnosed hyperthyroidism leads to myxedema.
2) Severe advanced hyperthyroidism linked with skin changes can also be referred to by using the term “myxedema”.
3) Changes in the skin include a swollen face, eyelids, tongue, and lips.
4) The skin swells and thickens on the body; mainly, the lower legs are affected.
5) A myxedema crisis replaces myxedema coma, a life-threatening condition followed by severe advanced hypothyroidism.
Additional changes linked to myxedema other than skin changes include the following:
1) Low heart rate
2) Low blood pressure
3) Intolerance to cold conditions
4) Hair becomes brittle
5) The thyroid becomes enlarged, which is known as goiter
6) It feels lethargic as the energy decreases.
7) Gains weight
10) Mood swings and depression
Causes of myxedema
The leading cause of myxedema is the severe hypothyroidism condition associated with the thyroid gland’s improper functioning. Other causes may include as follows:
1) Hashimotoâ€™s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition.
2) Radiation therapy is performed to treat cancer.
3) Surgical removal of the thyroid gland.
4) Usage of lithium and amiodarone medications.
6) Excess and deficiency of iodine in the body.
7) Cancer treatment involving immune system medications.
Most commonly, older women are affected by myxedema that may be caused due to stopping treatment medications. Sugar molecule chains deposit under the skin, attracting water, which causes skin swelling referred to as myxedema related to skin changes. The myxedema crisis condition can elevate due to conditions such as the following:
1) Stopping medications prescribed for hypothyroid treatment.
2) Heart attacks and illness can be suddenly caused.
5) Exposed to a cold environment.
Diagnosis and treatment of myxedema
The doctor may suspect the condition to be severe hypothyroidism by evaluating symptoms. The doctor may confirm the condition with the help of a blood test. The amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone can be measured by performing a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test.
1) If the thyroid-stimulating hormone production is low due to the failure of the thyroid gland, the pituitary gland initiates to increase the TSH.
2) Hypothyroidism is a condition, which involves the increased high-level production of the thyroid-stimulating hormone.
3) In addition to the thyroid-stimulating test, the condition can be evaluated through the thyroxine (T4) test.
4) As the thyroid is responsible for the immediate release of the T4 hormone, this test can measure the production of T4 levels.
5) Hypothyroidism condition can be proved by the increased levels of TSH along with the decreased levels of T4.
6) To understand the condition of thyroid functioning, the doctor may perform various other tests.
7) The diagnosis process is started by physical tests in the myxedema crisis.
8) Doctors will look for signs such as sparse hair, dry skin, hypothermia, swelling of legs and face, goiter, low heart rate and blood pressure, confusion, thyroidectomy surgical scars, and breathing difficulty.
9) A vein is chosen through the intravenous line (IV) as a route for performing the therapy. The patient receives thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
The treatment involves a medication known as levothyroxine that is a T4 hormone synthetic version. Throughout life, the medication must be followed till the levels of the T4 hormones get balanced.
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