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Myxedema Coma - Symptoms and Treatment

Myxedema coma is a rare condition requiring emergency care that can occur in a person who has untreated, severe hypothyroidism. It usually occurs in older adults who have other illnesses, such as a serious infection or heart attack, in addition to their hypothyroidism. In certain conditions, the thyroid becomes underactive and produces fewer amounts of its hormones, a situation called hypothyroidism.

People with hypothyroidism have problems that reflect underactivity of the organs of the body, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain, dry skin, and sleepiness. When the levels of thyroid hormones become very low, the symptoms get worse and can result in a serious condition called myxedema coma.

Myxedema coma can occur as the culmination of severe, long-standing hypothyroidism or be precipitated by an acute event such as infection, myocardial infarction, cold exposure, or the administration of sedative drugs, especially opiates. The demographics of patients who develop myxedema coma are those of hypothyroidism in general, with older women being most often affected.

Myxedema coma can result from any of the usual causes of hypothyroidism, particularly chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, because of its often insidious course compared with post-surgical or ablative hypothyroidism. It can occur in patients with secondary hypothyroidism, and there are case reports of its occurrence in patients with lithium- or amiodarone-induced hypothyroidism . Treatment should be begun on the basis of clinical suspicion without waiting for laboratory results. Important clues to the possible presence of myxedema coma in a poorly responsive patient are the presence of a thyroidectomy scar or a history of I-131 therapy or hypothyroidism.

Causes of Myxedema Coma

There are many causes of Myxedema occurring in a patient and these causes are usually when the patient shows signs of fatigue, weight gain in the patient plus dry skin. However as already stated if you do not go to the doctor to get this problem looked at properly then there is a very strong chance that you will end up in a Myxedema coma and the causes for a Myxedema coma are due to lung and also urine infections appearing in the patient, a stroke can also cause a patient to end up in a Myxedema coma along with these other symptoms: heart failure, trauma, surgery and also the most obvious one of all when a patient stops taking their prescribed thyroid medication then this can cause them to fall into a coma.

All these can cause a coma in a patient these show just how important it is to go and see their doctor before this condition gets worse. If they do not see the doctor then there is a high chance that they will end up in a coma and they will then be in a life threatening state. This illness is serious and if at any point the patient does not take it seriously then they could find out the more severe side of this illness.

Find common causes and risk factors of Myxedema Coma:

  • Trauma .
  • Stroke .
  • Drugs, such as phenothiazines, amiodarone , lithium , and tranquilizers, and prolonged iodide use .
  • Heart failure .

Signs and Symptoms of Myxedema Coma

Sign and symptoms may include the following :

  • Confusion.
  • Weakness.
  • Swelling of the body.
  • Difficulty breathing .





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