Disease Information for Hypothyroidism (myxedema): Definition

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  • The presence of antithyroid antibodies is compatible with Hashimoto"s disease and presents a risk factor for developing hypothyroidism; During early phases of hypothyroidism, T4 and free T4 lie just below the lower normal range; T3 is normal and TSH is barely elevated; This condition has been termed subclinical hypothyroidism, or the failing gland syndrome; Patients show minimal or no signs of hypothyroidism because a normal T3 level maintains their metabolic status; Many such patients later develop clinical hypothyroidism with a further increase in TSH levels and a decrease in T4 and free T4 levels; In patients with Hashimoto"s disease or after RAI treatment of Graves" disease, this pattern occurs frequently; Transient hypothyroidism frequently occurs in postpartum patients, with subacute thyroiditis, or after RAI treatment for Graves" disease; Changes in TSH levels lag behind alterations in T4 and T3 levels; careful follow-up is required to determine whether permanent hypothyroidism ensues--[Cecil Medicine on line 2006]----------------------

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