Myxedema is a term used synonymously with severe hypothyroidism. However, the term is also used to describe a dermatological change that can occur in hyperthyroidism and (rare) paradoxical cases of hypothyroidism. In this latter sense, myxedema refers to deposition of mucopolysaccharides in the dermis, which results in swelling of the affected area. One manifestation of myxedema occurring in the lower limb is pretibial myxedema, a hallmark of Graves disease, an autoimmune form of hyperthyroidism. Myxedema can also occur in Hashimoto thyroiditis and other long-standing forms of hypothyroidism.
The word myxedema originates from μύξᾰ, taken from ancient Greek to convey 'mucus' or 'slimy substance', and οἴδημα for "swelling". It can also be thought as nonpitting edema, in contrast to pitting edema.