The signs of hyperthyroidism visible on the face

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. It can cause facial symptoms, including swelling, flushing, thinning of the skin, and bulging eyes. Thyroid hormones control essential bodily functions such as breathing, digestion, body temperature and heart rate. High thyroid hormone levels can affect a person’s health and require medical treatment. There are several causes of hyperthyroidism, including autoimmune disorders, the presence of thyroid nodules, or the use of certain medications.

This article discusses the most common facial symptoms of hyperthyroidism, how to manage them, treatment options, and more.

Facial symptoms of hyperthyroidism

Thyroid hormones are responsible for supporting the typical functions of the outermost layer of the skin, also called the epidermis. Therefore, the skin is often the first place a person notices signs of thyroid hormone imbalance. One of the most common symptoms is warm, moist skin. According to an older 2012 study of people with thyroid disease, over 85% of people with hyperthyroidism had this symptom.

The following facial signs and symptoms may also appear:

facial flushing
swelling of the face and neck
bulging eyes
itching
skin thinning
skin rashes or hives
hidradenitis suppurativa: small painful bumps
redness, dry eyes, or blurred vision
skin hyperpigmentation

Other symptoms

In addition to the symptoms above, people with hyperthyroidism may experience other, less noticeable symptoms. Here are a few:

unintentional weight loss
increased appetite
excessive sweating
fatigue
nervousness or irritability
muscular weakness
sleep problems
heat intolerance
hyperactivity
hair loss
rapid and irregular heartbeat
frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
increased thirst
irregular menstrual periods
loss of interest in sex
These symptoms vary depending on the person’s age, physical condition, and the severity of the thyroid problem.

Possible complications

If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to more serious health problems, such as:

blood clots
stroke
heart failure
vision loss
osteoporosis
fertility issues
pregnancy complications

Treatment

Treatment for hyperthyroidism depends on the underlying cause. A doctor will also consider the severity of the disease and the characteristics of the individual when making a treatment plan. In some cases, a person may not need any treatment.

Available options include:

Antithyroid drugs: These drugs reduce the amount of hormones made by the thyroid gland.
Beta-blockers: These medications control certain symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism, such as rapid heartbeat, tremors, and anxiety.
Radioactive iodine treatment: Usually, a person takes radioactive iodine by mouth. The drug enters the thyroid cells through the bloodstream and destroys them. This results in an underactive thyroid, and the person must therefore undergo lifelong thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
Surgery: Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of the thyroid gland.
Doctors usually recommend surgery if antithyroid drugs or radioactive iodine therapy aren’t a viable option for a person.

Outlook

Hyperthyroidism is treatable, and its management requires careful medical evaluation. Early treatment can help prevent life-threatening complications such as heart disease.
Treatment aims to achieve normal thyroid hormone levels, improve symptoms, and avoid overtreatment. As with any disease, results vary depending on the cause, individual characteristics and adherence to treatment. One study showed that 45.3 to 96.3 percent of people with Graves’ disease, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, are in remission after first-line treatment.

However, treatment can have the opposite effect. In some cases, it can lead to hypothyroidism, another condition that occurs when thyroid hormone levels are lower than usual. In this case, drug treatment is necessary.

When to contact a doctor

If a person has signs of thyroid disease, they should contact a doctor. Many symptoms of hyperthyroidism are also signs of other health problems, so it can be difficult to identify them. It is therefore essential to seek a professional diagnosis. Only a qualified doctor can identify and diagnose hyperthyroidism. People with hyperthyroidism should regularly contact a doctor to monitor their condition. They should also tell a doctor if they notice any fluctuations in their weight, mood, or mental state.

Summary

In hyperthyroidism, one of the most affected organs is the skin, with manifestations on the person’s face including swelling, rashes and redness. The eyes may also appear protruding. Appropriate treatment can help reduce symptoms and restore normal thyroid hormone levels.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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