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Myxoedema

Lack of thyroid hormones causes hypothyroidism. Prolonged hypothyroidism can lead to Myxoedema. Myxoedema is a disorder of the skin and tissue owing to long term hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs due to surgical removal of thyroid glands, atrophic diseases, etc. Partial myxoedema / myxedema, can affect the lower legs of the person, this condition is referred to as pretibial Myxoedema. Rarely Grave's disease can also lead to pretibial Myxoedema. This condition is very common in women, in particular middle aged women. Myxoedema is also known as Gull's disease. If this condition is left untreated, it can cause Myxoedema coma. Myxoedema can be classified into Myxoedema and operative Myxoedema.


Myxoedema is accompanied by the following symptoms - coarse skin, thickening nose, thickening of the skin, puffiness of the eyes, swollen lips, mental disturbances, muscle pain and lethargy. In advanced cases the thyroid gland shrinks and becomes a fibrous mass. Persons suffering from Myxoedema might also suffer brittle hair, weight gain and constipation.


Blood tests are done to check for T3, T4, and TSH levels in the blood. Thyroid profile result helps in diagnosing the condition. In few cases nuclear imaging of the gland is done to study the gland. Thyroid biopsy is not required to diagnose this condition. Treating hypothyroidism is the treatment for Myxoedema. Hypothyroidism is treated through thyroid hormone replacement therapy. In advanced cases of Myxoedema, treatment gets difficult.

Grave's Disease

Grave's Disease is a condition caused by hyperactivity of the thyroid gland. Due to hyperthyroidism, a person appears nervous and anxious. This is due to the higher metabolic rate set by overactive thyroid. The body's immune system is triggered. Typically Grave's disease affects women in the age group of 20 - 40 years.


Symptoms of Grave's disease include enlarged thyroid gland, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, anxiety and difficulty in sleeping. A person suffering from Grave's disease experiences increased sensitivity to heat and moist skin. In cases of Graves' ophthalmopathy, the eyes may appear reddened or inflamed. There is increased sensitivity to light and the eyes may experience excessive tearing. Other symptoms of Grave's disease are weight loss without loss of appetite, bulging eyes and enlarged thyroid gland. Patient suffering from Grave's disease may have increased sweating, hand tremors and muscular weakness. Women may have infertility problems.


Blood levels of thyroid hormones - thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxinecan help in identifying Grave's disease. A short course of radioactive iodine helps in reducing the hyperactivity of the thyroid. This treatment shrinks the thyroid cells. Sometimes the thyroid is removed, in part or completely. Anti thyroid medications such as propylthiouracil and methimazole are prescribed to reduce the production of thyroid hormones.


Autoimmune disorders

Autoimmune disorders are those that occur as a result of a hypersensitive immune system. The immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. Typically autoimmune disorders affect the working of RBC, endocrine glands such as thyroid, muscles and joints. Examples of autoimmune disorders include Type I diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, Grave's disease and Multiple sclerosis.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: June 24, 2019