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Physiological reaction to low levels of thyroid hormone in adults, either due to thyroid-gland removal, lack of function, or atrophy, or secondary to a pituitary-gland disorder. Gradual changes include enlarged tongue, thick, puffy skin, drowsiness, cardiac enlargement, and slow metabolism. Low thyroid hormone affects levels of other hormones, and may result in low blood sodium and disorders of the reproductive system (including reduced fertility), adrenal glands, and circulatory system. Treatment is with thyroid hormone.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on myxedema, visit Britannica.com.