pretibial myxedema

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Related to pretibial myxedema: thyroid acropachy


a condition resulting from advanced hypothyroidism, or deficiency of thyroxine; it is the adult form of the disease whose congenital form is known as cretinism. adj., adj myxedem´atous.

Myxedema may be caused by lack of iodine in the diet; by atrophy, surgical removal, or a disorder of the thyroid gland; by destruction of the gland by radioactive iodine; or by deficient excretion of thyrotropin by the pituitary gland. It is marked primarily by a growing puffiness or “sogginess” of the skin, nonpitting edema, abnormal deposits of mucin in the skin, and distinctive facial changes such as swollen lips and a thickened nose.

Because thyroxine plays such an important role in the body's metabolism, lack of this hormone seriously upsets the balance of body processes. Among the symptoms associated with myxedema are excessive fatigue and drowsiness, headaches, weight gain, dryness of the skin, sensitivity to cold, and increasing thinness and brittleness of the nails. In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular. Medical tests reveal slow tendon reflexes, low blood iodine, below-normal metabolism, and abnormal uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid.

The body's defenses against infection also are weakened. If the patient has heart disease, it may worsen. Upset of the functions of the adrenal glands may become critical. In time, if myxedema is not brought under control, progressive mental deterioration may result in a psychosis marked by paranoid delusions.

Myxedema is treated by administration of thyroid extract or similar synthetic preparations. If treatment is begun soon after the symptoms appear, recovery may be complete. Delayed or interrupted treatment may mean permanent deterioration. In most instances, treatment with thyroid hormones or synthetics must be continued throughout the patient's lifetime.
pretibial myxedema localized skin lesions associated with preceding hyperthyroidism, found most often on the front of the legs. It is almost always associated with graves' disease, occurring in 0.5 to 5 per cent of patients. Called also thyroid dermopathy.

cir·cum·scribed myx·e·de·ma

(sĭr'kŭm-skrībd mik'sĕ-dē'mă)
Nodules and plaques of mucoid edema of the skin, usually in the pretibial region, occurring in some patients with hyperthyroidism.
Synonym(s): pretibial myxedema.

pretibial myxedema

Edema of the anterior surface of the legs following hyperthyroidism and exophthalmos.
See also: myxedema