The causes of puffy eye bags and even dark under eye circles are related. Often they are seen together. Let's look at some causes and what to do to get rid of them or at least reduce puffy eye bags.
• Illness and Disease
The early stage of mononucleosis is usually accompanied by supra-orbital edema or swelling above the eyes. Trichinosis, a disease caused by eating raw infected pork products, is accompanied by periorbital edema. Both illnesses cause other symptoms such as fever, fatigue and pain.
Hypothyroidism is a chronic condition in which the thyroid glands do not function properly. It is accompanied by all over facial swelling, often first noticed as puffiness around the eyes.
Nephrotic syndrome is a condition involving kidney damage. The kidneys are responsible for removing toxins and wastes from the body. When they do not function properly, there is a buildup of bodily fluids. The first site to become swollen with the bodily fluids is the area around the eyes.
Chagas disease is caused by a parasite and is normally seen only in the tropics. Painless periorbital puffiness is one of the early symptoms.
Any kind of dermatitis or inflammatory skin disease can cause swelling due to increased sensitivity. Swelling and puffiness are synonymous.
As you have read through these illnesses, you may have noticed that in diseases involving swelling, the area around the eyes is affected first. This is because the skin around the eyes is thinner than anywhere else on the body. Being thinner, it is more easily damaged and swelling is more noticeable.
Everything from hay fever to hair allergies affects the eyes. There may be itching and tearing, which results in swelling or puffiness. In some cases, the primary symptom of the allergic reaction is puffy eye bags. This is likely due to the problem mentioned above; thin skin.
• Fluid Retention
Many of the conditions already mentioned cause fluid retention, but there are non-illness related causes of fluid retention around the eyes. For example, excess salt in the diet encourages fluid retention and may lead to puffy eyes. Crying, because of the salt in the tears, can lead to puffiness. Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menstruation can cause fluid retention. Alcohol and tobacco use can cause the problem for a variety of reasons.
Our skin becomes thinner as we age due to decreased production of new cells in the epidermis and loss of the fatty tissue layer. While this is not immediately noticeable elsewhere on the body, the skin around the eyes is already very thin. Any changes in bodily fluids will show up more quickly than it did during your youth.
The fluids that we have been talking about contain hemoglobin and waste products. It is those things that cause the dark circles.
Obviously, the solutions are different depending on the cause or causes. A disease like mono is usually short-lived. Once the person become well again, the bags will go away. When the causes are chronic or more complex, you need another solution. You'll learn about those in my next article.
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