Myxedema test

I'm building quite a little library of thyroid books - another has just popped through the letter box and already I've learned something new! Hypothyroidism by Mark Starr.

I'd only come across the term myxedema coma and so had dismissed the term as I had assumed it only applied to last stages of serious hypothyroidism.

But no! The first chapter in my new book tells me something quite different and that I have myxedema. The test is to try to pinch the skin on the upper arm and you should be able to pinch it so skin comes away with fingers close together. I can do this on my wrist but on my upper arm the 'pinch' is over an inch thick and I've got skinny little arms!

This type of swelling is apparently unique to hypothyroidism and so specifically distinctive and diagnostic. Doctors used to do physical examination of patients but are now not trained to do this - this diagnostic clinical finding, used prior to blood tests, has been forgotten.

9 Replies

  • You should watch this video - very short - three different people doing the pinch test :

  • Great video - much better than explaining in words, thank you!

    Just pinched thighs and stomach after watching that and yep, sure thing, no skin pinch there either!

  • I have this too!...and swollen eyelids a bit....also puffy cheeks....and im on meds lol....not the right ones yet I may add ....interesting...tell us anymore info.....are there any more signs...facial ones etc that you can have....i seem to have them....thanks.

  • Yep, the book shows photos of faces before and after showing puffiness gone. Book says puffiness of face and hands improves remarkably with correct treatment.

  • PS it says it begins around face particularly above or below eyes and along jaw line. Also upper arms are early on and then it eventually spreads throughout the body

  • thats me! :)

  • Hiya...can you message me the name of the book you are reading as am really interested...thanks muchly :)

  • Fascinating. My slightly swollen ankles have reduced in size since being better medicated, but I've just been pinching (and comparing with my non-thyroid sufferer husband) and I definitely show up as having myxedema.

    I once went a GP with a very sore tongue, ages before I knew anything about thyroid problems, and nothing was said about the pronounced scallops. If only doctors were trained to look for a few simple signs....

  • I'll be testing my non-thyroid husband when he gets in!

    Yes, I think a lot of information is lost by some doctors these days who have been trained to just look at the computer and then turn to the prescription pad.

You may also like...