Puffy or Swollen Face? Face That It May Be Your Thyroid
by Tracey Pollack
When you look in the mirror, do you see a puffy or swollen face? While many of us blame a late night out or a salty meal, few people realize that a condition called hypothyroidism may actually be to blame. Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. The condition is quite common, especially in women and people over the age of 60. Discover if hypothyroidism may be the underlying cause of the puffiness and problems you’re facing.
The Source of the Swelling
A problem with your thyroid may be staring you in the face. See, a puffy or swollen face is one of the primary warning signs of an underactive thyroid. This condition is known as hypothyroidism and it occurs when the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough of the thyroid hormones your body needs to function properly. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland found at the front of your neck. It produces thyroid hormones, which are important because they regulate a wide range of physical, mental and emotional functions vital to looking and feeling your best.
A Round-Up of the Symptoms
While a puffy face is one of the most noticeable symptoms of hypothyroidism, this bloating is just the beginning of the numerous warning signs. Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause a hormonal imbalance that can lead to many symptoms that affect your appearance, physical health, mental performance and overall quality of life. Moving past the puffiness, other signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Weight gain
- Mood and memory changes
- Slower heart rate
- Menstrual changes
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Thinning hair and eyebrows
- Sore muscles and joints
- Feeling cold most of the time
There are many degrees of hypothyroidism and in the earliest stages, you may not notice any symptoms. But once they appear, you need to see your doctor for a diagnosis because the condition can lead to serious lifelong complications if left untreated. Only then can you manage the symptoms and feel better about your appearance, your health and your life.
Overcoming an Underactive Thyroid
Today, doctors are able to diagnose hypothyroidism at an early stage—often before you notice any symptoms. The condition can be detected by simple blood tests that measure your levels of thyroid hormones. These tests can help your doctor determine the right dosage of medication to help you manage your symptoms. The most common treatment for hypothyroidism involves the daily use of an oral medication to restore hormone levels and reverse any symptoms.
Making a Full Recovery
You should start feeling better weeks after beginning treatment as the medication starts regulating your thyroid hormone levels. Once proper levels are restored, your symptoms should start to disappear or become much more manageable. Your doctor will perform follow-up blood tests to monitor your progress and find the right treatment plan for you. Along with medication, a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise and stress management techniques can be just as essential for a healthy and happy life.
If a puffy face or any of the other symptoms make you suspect you have hypothyroidism, you need to face the condition head-on and get the proper treatment to look, feel and be your very best.