Graves’ disease – Definition
Graves’ disease is an immune system disorder of the thyroid gland in the throat.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes overactive thyroid – a condition called hyperthyroidism.
The disease causes the sufferer’s immune system to attack the thyroid and cause it to make more thyroid hormone than the body needs.
Thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck.
Graves’ disease causes the thyroid to overproduce hormones. The condition is more common in women under the age of 40.
Symptoms of Graves’ disease
Symptoms of Graves’ disease include:
- Anxiety and irritability
- A fine tremor of your hands or fingers
- Heat sensitivity and an increase in perspiration or warm, moist skin
- Weight loss, despite normal eating habits
- Enlargement of your thyroid gland (goiter)
- Change in menstrual cycles
- Erectile dysfunction or reduced libido
- Frequent bowel movements
- Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)
- Thick, red skin usually on the shins or tops of the feet (Graves’ dermopathy)
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
Can The Disease Kill?
Without treatment, Graves’ disease can cause some serious and potentially fatal health problems, including: An irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related problems
Common Treatment of Graves’ disease
Treatment includes medication. Sometimes the thyroid is removed. All thyroid diseases can be treated, resulting in normal thyroid function. … Radioactive iodine and surgery also can “cure” the hyperthyroidism by removing the thyroid. However, the thyroid-stimulating antibodies often are unaffected by these treatments, so the underlying cause of Graves’ disease persists.