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Are signs of an undiagnosed illness written all over your face? Puffy eyes with dark shadows and a poor complexion may reveal more about our health than we think. Abi Jackson learns more.

RED RASH ACROSS THE NOSE AND CHEEKS A PERMANENT flushed rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks may be a sign of lupus, a lifelong autoimmune condition which, among other things, causes joint and muscle pain and extreme fatigue. But not everybody gets the so-called 'butterfly' rash.

RED RASH ACROSS THE NOSE AND CHEEKS A PERMANENT flushed rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks may be a sign of lupus, a lifelong autoimmune condition which, among other things, causes joint and muscle pain and extreme fatigue. But not everybody gets the so-called 'butterfly' rash.

"The skin is involved in about two-thirds of people with lupus, but only about one-third develop the classic 'butterfly' rash," explains a spokesperson for the charity Lupus UK (www.lupusuk.org.uk). "Other skin changes include a widespread measles-like rash, patches of discoid lupus (inflamed sores) or small areas of bleeding into the skin. Thinning of the hair can also be seen at times of a flare of the disease. Lupus can have an impact on your quality of life, especially when multiple symptoms, such as joint pain, fatigue, mouth ulcers, headaches and many others, affect your daily life."

"The skin is involved in about two-thirds of people with lupus, but only about one-third develop the classic 'butterfly' rash," explains a spokesperson for the charity Lupus UK (www.lupusuk.org.uk). "Other skin changes include a widespread measles-like rash, patches of discoid lupus (inflamed sores) or small areas of bleeding into the skin. Thinning of the hair can also be seen at times of a flare of the disease. Lupus can have an impact on your quality of life, especially when multiple symptoms, such as joint pain, fatigue, mouth ulcers, headaches and many others, affect your daily life."

W | hat should I do? LUPUS often goes undiagnosed for years, due to lack of awareness and because symptoms can be misleading. If you're concerned, speak to your GP and explain all the things you're experiencing - blood tests and a referral to a specialist can determine whether you have the condition.

W | hat should I do? LUPUS often goes undiagnosed for years, due to lack of awareness and because symptoms can be misleading. If you're concerned, speak to your GP and explain all the things you're experiencing - blood tests and a referral to a specialist can determine whether you have the condition.

There's no cure, but treatments and advice on managing lupus can make a real difference to quality of life and help prevent serious complications.

There's no cure, but treatments and advice on managing lupus can make a real difference to quality of life and help prevent serious complications.

EXCESSIVE HAIR EVERY woman has facial hair to some degree, but if this hair is excessive (known as hirsutism), most commonly affecting the upper lip/chin/sideburn area, it could be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder (meaning it concerns hormones) which leads to a variety of symptoms and can affect fertility - irregular or absent periods are a key symptom. It's characterised by multiple small cysts on the ovaries, though it's important to note that not everybody with cysts has the syndrome and associated problems.

EXCESSIVE HAIR EVERY woman has facial hair to some degree, but if this hair is excessive (known as hirsutism), most commonly affecting the upper lip/chin/sideburn area, it could be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder (meaning it concerns hormones) which leads to a variety of symptoms and can affect fertility - irregular or absent periods are a key symptom. It's characterised by multiple small cysts on the ovaries, though it's important to note that not everybody with cysts has the syndrome and associated problems.

"One of the most common causes of excess hair on women [not just on the face, but the whole body] is PCOS, which affects one in five UK women," says Rachel Hawkes, chair of PCOS charity Verity (veritypcos.org.uk). "Some of the other symptoms are acne, male pattern "One of the most common causes of excess hair on women [not just on the face, but the whole body] is PCOS, which affects one in five UK women," says Rachel Hawkes, chair of PCOS charity Verity (veritypcos.org.uk). "Some of the other symptoms are acne, male pattern ||Graves' Graves' cause eyes ause eyes hair loss, irregular period cycles and weight gain [or difficulty losing weight]."

hair loss, irregular period cycles and weight gain [or difficulty losing weight]."

What | should I do? "PCOS is linked to long-term health risks like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, so if a woman has two or more of these symptoms, we'd recommend she talks to her GP," advises Rachel. "There's no cure, however, PCOS can be managed and there is a lot of great information and support available."

What | should I do? "PCOS is linked to long-term health risks like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, so if a woman has two or more of these symptoms, we'd recommend she talks to her GP," advises Rachel. "There's no cure, however, PCOS can be managed and there is a lot of great information and support available."

DARK PATCHES "THERE are tons of different causes of dark patches," explains Dr Adam Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic (theharleystreetdermatologyclinic.co.uk).

DARK PATCHES "THERE are tons of different causes of dark patches," explains Dr Adam Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic (theharleystreetdermatologyclinic.co.uk).

"Sun exposure can give you freckles, or dark patches called melasma, and this can be made worse by birth control pills and pregnancy, then there are age and liver spots."

"Sun exposure can give you freckles, or dark patches called melasma, and this can be made worse by birth control pills and pregnancy, then there are age and liver spots."

" These are nothing to worry about - unless they become malignant. "If a freckle starts to get bigger with irregular colours, and looks different from the others, even if it's still" These are nothing to worry about - unless they become malignant. "If a freckle starts to get bigger with irregular colours, and looks different from the others, even if it's stilldisease can disease can to bulge flat, it could mean that it's becoming cancerous," he says.

to bulge flat, it could mean that it's becoming cancerous," he says.

Hyperpigmentation can also occur as a result of scarring, possibly from other skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.

Hyperpigmentation can also occur as a result of scarring, possibly from other skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.

It's rare for hyperpigmentation to be a sign of illness, but in some cases, it could be linked with Addison's disease - a condition involving the adrenal glands, which also causes fatigue, weight loss, sickness, joint pain and low blood pressure ("You It's rare for hyperpigmentation to be a sign of illness, but in some cases, it could be linked with Addison's disease - a condition involving the adrenal glands, which also causes fatigue, weight loss, sickness, joint pain and low blood pressure ("You normally notice this sort of hyperpigmentation around the mouth and possibly the tongue," notes Dr Friedmann), and acanthosis nigricans, dark, thickened patches that usually develop in armpits, groins and necks, can be a sign of underlying illness.

normally notice this sort of hyperpigmentation around the mouth and possibly the tongue," notes Dr Friedmann), and acanthosis nigricans, dark, thickened patches that usually develop in armpits, groins and necks, can be a sign of underlying illness.

W | hat should I do? IF you are concerned, speak to your GP, and any unusual changes in moles and freckles should ALWAYS be checked.

W | hat should I do? IF you are concerned, speak to your GP, and any unusual changes in moles and freckles should ALWAYS be checked.

In most cases, dark patches are not a health concern, but if they're causing distress or affecting your self-esteem, speaking to a dermatologist could be helpful.

In most cases, dark patches are not a health concern, but if they're causing distress or affecting your self-esteem, speaking to a dermatologist could be helpful.

REDNESS THE beauty industry and lay population often refer to a flushed complexion as rosacea, but for REDNESS THE beauty industry and lay population often refer to a flushed complexion as rosacea, but for many people, rosacea is a real skin disorderwhich can have a big impact.

many people, rosacea is a real skin disorderwhich can have a big impact.

"As dermatologists, we talk about acne rosacea," says Dr Friedmann. Though not every case is the same, symptoms include spots, thickening of the skin, sore, dry eyes and a rash-like flushing/redness. "Over time, if left untreated, the redness can become permanent and disfiguring.

"As dermatologists, we talk about acne rosacea," says Dr Friedmann. Though not every case is the same, symptoms include spots, thickening of the skin, sore, dry eyes and a rash-like flushing/redness. "Over time, if left untreated, the redness can become permanent and disfiguring.

"You can also get dilation of the blood vessels, and in worse cases, dilated lymphatics which is associated with reddened, facial swelling like rhinophyma - an enlarged, swollen, red nose," explains Dr Friedmann. "But this is thankfully rare and happens after years of not seeking any treatment."

"You can also get dilation of the blood vessels, and in worse cases, dilated lymphatics which is associated with reddened, facial swelling like rhinophyma - an enlarged, swollen, red nose," explains Dr Friedmann. "But this is thankfully rare and happens after years of not seeking any treatment."

" Facial redness can also occur due to long-term sun exposure, mild" Facial redness can also occur due to long-term sun exposure, mild eczema, dermatitis and scarring, or spontaneously with no underlying cause/problem

eczema, dermatitis and scarring, or spontaneously with no underlying cause/problem.

What should I do? |IF you're suffering from acne rosacea, speak to your GP or see a dermatologist; treatments and advice can make a big difference.

What should I do? |IF you're suffering from acne rosacea, speak to your GP or see a dermatologist; treatments and advice can make a big difference.

If permanent redness with no underlying cause is still causing distress, there may be things, like laser treatment or camouflage products, which could help.

If permanent redness with no underlying cause is still causing distress, there may be things, like laser treatment or camouflage products, which could help.

BULGING EYES OF course, some people's eyes are BULGING EYES OF course, some people's eyes are naturally more bulbous, but if your eyes have started to protrude more than usual it could be a sign of underlying illness such as Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder and the most common form of overactive thyroid.

naturally more bulbous, but if your eyes have started to protrude more than usual it could be a sign of underlying illness such as Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder and the most common form of overactive thyroid.

Eyes may also become inflamed and painful, with possible double vision and Eyes may also become inflamed and painful, with possible double vision and increased sensitivity to light, too. Other symptoms of Graves include anxiety, weight loss, palpitations, hand tremor, frequent bowel movements and an enlarged thyroid gland (where the front of the throat/neck bulges out).

increased sensitivity to light, too. Other symptoms of Graves include anxiety, weight loss, palpitations, hand tremor, frequent bowel movements and an enlarged thyroid gland (where the front of the throat/neck bulges out).

Other things that may cause eyes to bulge include infection and tumours.

Other things that may cause eyes to bulge include infection and tumours.

What should I do? |GET things checked with your doctor so, if necessary, you can be referred for appropriate tests and treatment. If you're experiencing other symptoms that may indicate thyroid imbalance, writing everything down in a diary might help build up a clearer picture.

What should I do? |GET things checked with your doctor so, if necessary, you can be referred for appropriate tests and treatment. If you're experiencing other symptoms that may indicate thyroid imbalance, writing everything down in a diary might help build up a clearer picture.

' Over time, if left untreated, the redness can become permanent and disfiguring... Dermatologist Dr Adam Friedmann ' Over time, if left untreated, the redness can become permanent and disfiguring... Dermatologist Dr Adam Friedmann

CAPTION(S):

Could | your tired complexion be a sign of lupus? Could | your tired complexion be a sign of lupus?

The condition of | your skin could be a symptom of a deeper health problem The condition of | your skin could be a symptom of a deeper health problem
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jun 2, 2015
Words:2117
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