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What causes myxedema coma?

Most patients with myxedema coma have a history of hypothyroidism, thyroid surgery, or radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid disease. Very rarely, the problem is not caused by the inability of the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone; but rather is caused by the failure of the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus to correctly signal the thyroid gland to perform its normal functions. In this situation, the thyroid gland is normal, but it is not receiving the signals from the pituitary gland or hypothalamus to make the thyroid hormone it is capable of producing.

Picture of the Thyroid Gland
Picture of the Thyroid Gland
Picture of the Pituitary Gland
Picture of the Pituitary Gland
Return to Myxedema Coma

See what others are saying

Comment from: Sherborn, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 27

My myxedema was brought on by non-diagnosed hypothyroidism. I had every symptom except hair loss, yet the doctor missed it. I was so out of it, I didn't know that I was gaining more than a pound a day, my legs felt like I had shin splints, I couldn't lift my arms over my head, and I had to work to breathe. It would have been so easy to just let go and stop breathing. I had total cookie dough skin and moon face, and didn't even know it. By the time I made it to the emergency room, my veins where collapsing, and my thyroid levels were the highest they had ever seen in anyone still alive. I was oblivious. I remember being told that I would have been dead within 48 hours if I hadn't gotten help.

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Comment from: shaji, 25-34 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 22

The myxedema coma was a postoperative case of hypothyroidism.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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