Myxedema Coma - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of myxedema coma?

When a patient presents with myxedema coma the following may be present:

  • the body temperature is usually abnormally low (hypothermia), the core temperature may be as low as 80 F (26.6 C);
  • severe mental changes including hallucinations, disorientation, seizures, and ultimately, deep coma;
  • significant swelling (edema) all over the body with swollen eyes and thickening of the tongue,
  • sparse, dry hair, and loss of the outer thirds of the eyebrows;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • collections of fluid around the lungs and heart (pleural effusion and pericardial effusions);
  • the heart may slow down and its ability to pump blood forward can be impaired;
  • the gastrointestinal tract does not function well and sometimes it becomes paralyzed, thereby necessitating surgery; and
  • blood test abnormalities are a result of the increased fluid in the body. For example, sodium levels drop because of dilution, which is caused by the body retaining extra water.
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Comment from: rjs00, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 27

I stopped breathing in the emergency room and at least a couple times thereafter, and had to be resuscitated. My kidneys and digestive system shut down and I had to be fed intravenously for a month, and I drifted in and out of consciousness for the duration. I became deaf, but was still able to exchange handwritten notes with the nurses and my wife. My legs and testicles were swollen and I lost all my hair (it's since grown back). It took two months of physical therapy before I was able to walk with a walker. Seven years later, I am back to normal for a person my age (66).

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