Causes of thyroid myxedema and its symptoms

In those cases when the development of a decrease in the efficiency of the thyroid gland reaches a state in which the metabolism slows down by 30-40%, medical science claims that an extreme form of hypothyroidism has arisen. At the same time, organs and tissues become swollen. This condition is called thyroid myxedema. With this phenomenon, proteins accumulate in the intercellular space, which are capable of not only attracting, but also retaining excess water in the tissues of the body.

Types of myxedema

The occurrence of such a disease is possible in people of different ages and gender. Its manifestation is possible even in children. However, the most susceptible to such a disease are women who undergo a restructuring of the body during the menopause. At this time, the disease can occur much more often than in other periods. An extremely unstable hormonal background during menopause can lead to the development of myxedema, which increases thyroid dysfunction.

The diagnosed forms of the disease are as follows:

  • primary form – not associated with other disorders of the thyroid gland;
  • secondary myxedema is a consequence of other diseases.

The reasons

The development of myxedema can lead to a lack of hormones produced by the thyroid gland. This is the main reason why the classic form of the disease develops. This condition occurs when there is a deficiency of trace elements, most often iodine, as well as infection, allergies, mechanical or radiation exposure. It is also possible its manifestation in violation of the immune system. Iodine deficiency leads to endemic goiter. With an anatomical change in the thyroid gland, which is congenital in nature, the disease can manifest itself in both children and adolescents.

Primary myxedema can develop for the following reasons:

  • strong growth of tumor tissue;
  • damage to the thyroid gland by injury;
  • some postoperative conditions arising from the removal of part of the gland;
  • death of gland tissue due to autoimmune attacks;
  • receiving radiation doses, including for the purpose of treatment;
  • congenital hypothyroidism.

In violation of the relationship of the humoral order (at the level of hormones) between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, a secondary form of the disease appears. In this case, there is a loss of the ability of the brain to regulate the production of thyroid hormones.

A variation of the disease is pretibial myxedema, the causes of which are an excessive amount of hormones produced by the thyroid gland. This is its difference from the classical form of the disease. It is manifested by reddening of the skin in the lower leg (its front part). There are three forms of pretibial myxedema – nodular, plaque -like and rare elephantiasis. The cause of the manifestation can be both a hereditary factor – a diffuse goiter, and thyroid pathology – a toxic adenoma or a multinodular goiter that has arisen. Myxedema develops when the active production of thyroid hormones begins in the newly formed nodes of thyroid tissues.

Symptoms of the manifestation of the disease

The performance of the body largely depends on the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. As a result, myxedema is characterized by many symptoms that can manifest itself due to malfunctions in the functioning of almost any body system. However, there are symptoms, the totality of which is a sign of the disease when it is diagnosed. Among them:

  1. Puffiness of the face due to mucous edema of both the subcutaneous tissue and the skin itself. Edema in myxedema is different from that seen in other cases. This difference lies in the absence of a depression on the body after pressing on it with the fingers. In this case, the face acquires rough features and becomes like a mask. Bags form under the eyes. This manifestation is called myxedema face, which resembles a doll.
  2. Due to dystrophic changes in the skin, as well as the fiber located under it, transformations occur in the structure of hair and nails. The first ones become thin and brittle, falling out easily. Nails peel and break.
  3. The voice takes on a hoarse sound and becomes rough. This is due to the fact that the vocal cords swell. The language can be affected by the same phenomenon. In this case, the pronunciation of words becomes blurry and indistinct.

Other signs of the disease are characteristic symptoms of any type of hypothyroidism – a feeling of chills, drowsiness and constant fatigue, attacks of heart pain, impaired concentration and lethargy, pain in muscles and joints, and some others.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis of myxedema is based on the study of a biochemical blood test. In this case, the content of hormones of both the thyroid gland and the pituitary gland is determined. Also, the thyroid gland is examined by using ultrasound. A fine needle biopsy will be performed. You may need to consult a dermatologist.

Treatment of myxedema is performed for life due to the fact that the functions that the thyroid gland has lost cannot be restored. Hormonal insufficiency is corrected by taking certain doses of drugs. If a disease occurs due to a lack of iodine, preparations containing this trace element are used during treatment, for example, Iodomarin . Also a necessity is eating seafood, walnuts and iodized salt, vegetables and fruits. Prevention of the disease consists in the inclusion of the same set of products in the diet.

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