Graves’ Disease

by on August 14th, 2014
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Although Graves’ disease can affect anyone, it is more common in women and usually affects them before the age of 40. The ultimate goal for treatment is to stop the over production of the thyroid hormones.

Symptoms of Graves Disease

There are many symptoms to Graves ‘ disease and everyone’s body is different. You may or may not show all of the symptoms of the disorder.

Anxiety

Blurred or reduced vision (rare)

Bulging eyes

Change in menstrual cycle

Difficulty sleeping

Double vision

Dry, irritated eyes

Enlargement of thyroid glands, also called goiter

Erectile dysfunction or reduced libido

Excess tearing

Fatigue

Fine tremor of hands and fingers

Frequent bowel moments or diarrhea

Gritty sensation in the eyes

Irritability

Increase in perspiration or warm, moist skin

Light sensitivity

Limited eye movements, resulting in a fixed stare

Pressure or pain in the eyes

Puffy eyelids

Reddened or inflamed eyes

Thick, red skin on shins and top of the feet

Ulcers on the cornea (rare)

Weight loss, despite normal eating

If you experience any signs of heart problem, see your doctor immediately.

Causes of Graves’ Disease

The cause of Graves’ disease is a dysfunction of the immune system. Usually, the hormones that are produced in the body are regulated by the pituitary gland. However, in graves’ disease the body produces an antibody to a particular protein. This causes the thyroid receptor antibody (TRAb) to mimic the regulation that the pituitary gland typically controls. This causes the thyroid to over produce its hormone. This condition is known as hyperthyroidism.

Results of Hyperthyroidism

The thyroid can affect many organ systems in the body at the same time by using it’s hormone. It can affect:

Body temperature

Heart function

Menstrual cycle

Muscle strength

Metabolism

Nervous system function

Outlook For Graves Disease

The outlook for Graves’ Disease is a decline in the quality of life, not really the life span. It is very rare for Graves’ disease to be fatal. It can develop complications and complicate other disorders or conditions of the body.

Pregnancy

Heart disorders

Brittle Bones

Thyroid storm (rare)

In pregnancy, Graves’s disease can lead to premature birth, preeclampsia, poor fetal growth, high blood pressure, elevated urine proteins.

Graves’ Disease can also lead to heart problems if it is left untreated. It can change the way your heart functions and the way it is shaped. It can also lead to congestive heart failure.

Hyperthyroidism, if left untreated, can lead to osteoporosis and overall weakening of your bone structure. It does this by blocking calcium absorption into the bone itself.

Thyroid Storms are rare, but life threatening complication. It is caused by severe, untreated hyperthyroidism. The effects of the high concentration of this hormone can lead to fever, profuse sweating, confusion, becoming weak, delirious, irregular heartbeat, extremely low blood pressure, and coma.

Risk Factors for Developing Graves’ Disease

Age: usually attacks persons younger than 40

Autoimmune disorders

Emotional or physical stress: Typically in the genetically predisposed

Family history

Gender: it is more common in women

Pregnancy

Smoking


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