9 Autoimmune Diseases That Affect Your Appearance

Thyroid Disease Can Cause Dry Skin, Hair Loss, and Weight Gain.

An underactive thyroid means you are producing too few thyroid hormones, in turn, your metabolism may slow down. Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop over time and may include dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, and a sensation of being cold. Often hypothyroidism is a result of Hashimoto’s disease, when the immune system attacks the thyroid.

Hypothyroidism can’t be cured, but it is generally easy to treat. You will have to take a synthetic form of the hormone as a daily pill. Periodic blood tests will help your doctor ensure you are taking the right dose. Once you have the condition under control, your symptoms will start to improve.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Make Your Joints Swell

With this autoimmune disorder, your body mistakenly attacks your tissue, particularly your joints. This can make your joints, particularly the smaller ones in the hands and feet, swollen and feel painful.

Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with the symptoms; however, prescription medications, and oral corticosteroid can help ease the inflammation and other swelling. Other drugs known as biologic response modifiers, such as Humira (adalimumab), also reduce the inflammation that causes joint damage by working on the parts of the immune system that triggers it. Physical therapy, exercise, and stress reduction techniques can help joint and muscle strength and function.

Type 1 Diabetes Can Cause Itchy, Dry Skin That’s Prone to Infection

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. When you don’t produce enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood, and your body can’t properly convert food into energy.

Because those with diabetes may have impaired blood flow to the feet, it’s important to take good care of your skin. Itchy, dry skin and bacterial and fungal infections are common. Those with type 1 diabetes are also more likely to have vitiligo. Once you have your condition under control with insulin supplementation, your skin should start to improve.

Lupus Can Cause a Rash Across the Nose and Cheeks

A butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks is the classic hallmark of lupus, an autoimmune disease that starts when your body attacks your organs and tissues and leads to inflammation. You may also experience lesions on your skin after sun exposure.

Treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, and antimalarial drugs.

Dermatomyositis Causes a Skin Rash

Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disease that causes a skin rash on the face and eyelids, as well as on the shoulders, upper chest, and back, and around the knuckles. Other symptoms include muscle weakness, shortness of breath, and trouble swallowing. It is most common in children between ages five and 15 and in adults between ages 40 and 60.

The autoimmune disorder is treated with immunosuppressants and corticosteroids. In children, the symptoms often go away completely. Adults need to be more careful as this may be a sign of another underlying disease and could develop pneumonia or lung failure, which can be fatal in some cases.

Pernicious Anemia Causes Skin to Be Very Pale

Pernicious anemia can be brought on by an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks cells in the stomach, making it difficult for the intestines to absorb vitamin B12 needed to make red blood cells. Symptoms may include unusually pale skin, a swollen tongue, and bleeding gums, along with fatigue and loss of appetite.

The condition usually responds well to treatment consisting of vitamin B12 shots and oral supplements.

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