Tags: Thyroid Disorders | thyroid | malfunction | myxedema | coma

How Can Thyroid Malfunction Cause Coma?

By    |   Thursday, 07 Apr 2016 06:18 PM

Many people suffer from an underactive thyroid without ever being diagnosed. When left untreated, a serious condition called myxedema coma can result.

The thyroid gland produces and releases hormones called T3 and T4 that regulate metabolism and these hormones are important for all cells in the body to function properly. Hypothyroidism is the condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones on its own.

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Hypothyroidism is a common disorder, and symptoms include heightened sensitivity to cold temperatures, dry skin, weight gain, and fatigue, says WebMD.

According to the Mayo Clinic, underactive thyroid is diagnosed most often through a simple blood test called a thyroid stimulating hormone test. Once confirmed, symptom relief usually comes from treatment with synthetic hormones that are administered for the rest of the patient’s life.

Longstanding, untreated, and severe hypothyroidism can eventually result in myxedema coma, says Mayo Clinic. Patients with myxedema coma can have extreme cold intolerance, profound lethargy, and finally, unconsciousness.

According to MedicineNet, mental impairments such as hallucinations, confusion, and seizures can occur. The heart stops pumping blood effectively, breathing slows, and swelling of the entire body occurs including swollen eyes and tongue. A coma state can then be triggered by stress on the body or infection.

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Myxedema coma requires immediate emergency medical attention, advises WebMD. Emergency treatment involves:

• Intravenous administration of thyroid hormones in large doses
• Electrolyte solutions and other fluids to correct dehydration
• Antibiotics if infection is present
• Warming blankets to correct body temperature
• Glucose supplements in cases of low blood sugar

Dr. Erik D. Shraga, a staff physician at Mills-Peninsula Emergency Medical Associates, writes at Medscape that myxedema coma is most often seen in elderly females.

The required amounts of thyroid hormone needed to reverse the coma can be toxic. In fact, Shraga says that even with the most appropriate treatment, mortality rates can exceed 20 percent.

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Many people suffer from an underactive thyroid without ever being diagnosed. When left untreated, a serious condition called myxedema coma can result.
thyroid, malfunction, myxedema, coma
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2016-18-07
Thursday, 07 Apr 2016 06:18 PM
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