Severe Hypothyroidism Complicated by Myopathy and Neuropathy
Autoimmune hypothyroidism may result in a wide range of neuromuscular disorders. The frequently observed neurological manifestations of acquired hypothyroidism include mild to moderate myopathy and sensorimotor neuropathy, which usually resolve by clinical and electrophysiological criteria, in adults treated with thyroid hormone replacement. The author reports a case of a 30-year-old male with severe hypothyroidism secondary to chronic autoimmune thyroiditis who presented with a 2-year history of progressive fatigue, upper and lower limb weakness, myalgia, and intermittent paraesthesia. His neurological exam demonstrated proximal and distal muscle weakness, lower limb areflexia, and relatively intact sensory modalities. The patient's biochemistry revealed unusually and profoundly raised the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level of 405.5 mIU/L (reference range (RR): 0.27–4.2 mIU/L) and creatine kinase (CK) level of 20,804 U/L (RR: 45–250 U/L), while his nerve conduction studies (NCS) demonstrated severe sensorimotor polyneuropathy with both axonal and demyelinating features.

Thyroid hormone replacement therapy over the first 3 months resulted in biochemical normalization of his extremely deranged thyroid function tests (TFTs) and CK levels. At 12 months, despite maintaining euthyroidism and noticeable improvement in strength, his nerve conduction studies (NCS) demonstrated the continued absence of distal motor and sensory responses in his lower limbs with only partial improvement in sensory amplitudes and conduction velocities in his upper limbs. This report highlights the potential for severe neuromuscular consequences from advanced and chronic autoimmune hypothyroidism. The patient's myopathy has resolved over a period of three months with prompt normalization of CK levels. Concerningly, the patient achieved significant but incomplete recovery from his mixed axonal and demyelinating neuropathy with residual mild distal weakness and areflexia in his lower limbs and persistent motor and sensory impairments on his NCS. The severity and incomplete resolution of our patient's neurological manifestations emphasize the importance of early diagnosis and the need for prompt therapeutic intervention for hypothyroidism.