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.