July 7, 2015
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Myxedema Coma (cont.)

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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

What are triggers of myxedema coma?

Certain factors may suddenly trigger myxedema coma in a person with poorly controlled hypothyroidism. These include:

  • drugs (particularly sedatives, narcotics, anesthesia, lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), and amiodarone (Cordarone),
  • infections,
  • stroke,
  • trauma,
  • heart failure,
  • gastrointestinal bleeding,
  • hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature), and
  • failing to take thyroid medications as prescribed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2015

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/myxedema_coma/article.htm

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