You walk into your doctor’s office. You tell him you are concerned because lately you notice your skin has become dry and wrinkled, your nails break easily, and you are losing hair from your head and eyebrows. He suggests that you balance your diet and get more vitamins.
According to the Thyroid Federation International, there are up to 300 million people in the world with thyroid dysfunction and, of that number, over half are presumed to not know it. Due to incomplete or outmoded testing methods and failure to recognize symptoms, hypothyroidism is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed health problems in the world.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that help to balance your metabolism and keep your body weight and temperature regulated. According to Dr. Broda Barnes, author of “Hypothyroidism: the Unsuspected Illness”, “When thyroid function is low, circulation is reduced. In advanced cases of hypothyroidism, the skin, in fact, may receive as little as one fourth to one fifth the normal blood supply.” As a result, hypothyroidism , or under- active thyroid, can cause your skin to retain fluids, it may create bags under the eyes and bloating in your legs, ankles, and fingers as well as cracked heels, colorless skin, and eczema.
Myxodema is skin swelling caused by deposits of sugar called glucosaminoglycans. It is a result of insufficient production of hormones by the thyroid gland, which is also responsible for regulation of metabolism. Myxodema is most likely to occur when hypothyroidism goes without treatment for an extended period and can have serious complications. The condition can be treated with thyroid replacement hormones which will help alleviate the symptoms.
Vitiglio is a pigmentation disorder that is frequently associated with autoimmune thyroid disease. Its symptoms include white patches on the skin, hair and eyebrows, and in severe cases, may result in the total loss of color from the skin. It usually precedes thyroid disfunction by many years, which makes it necessary for those with the skin disorder to be screened before hyperthyroidism develops.It can be treated medically with creams, oral medications, ultraviolet light, and removing color from other areas of skin so tone appears more even. It can be treated surgically with skin grafting and tattooing.
Hyperthyrhoidism is cause by too much thyroid hormone. It can make skin smooth and moist and prone to flushing and redness. Skin may become thin in some areas, whereas it may become thick and hyper pigmented (darker) in others, and may become extremely dry. Pretibal myxedema is another skin condition caused by hyperthyroidism which effects the front of the legs. Symptoms include hives and itching based on the increased action of hormones metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These conditions can be treated with hypoallergenics.
If you have any of these symptoms, it is important that you tell your doctor you need to be tested for hormone imbalance. Early detection can prevent severe symptoms from occurring.