What is Graves Disease?
It is a condition that happens because of an excess secretion of thyroxin produced by your thyroid gland. It is considered an autoimmune disease and one of the most common autoimmune diseases today. This condition leads to hyperthyroidism, which is when your thyroid glad is overactive and stimulates your metabolism which in turn can cause a person to tremble, have an increased heart beat, have a high level of perspiration, etc. When this happens most people with this condition is skinnier than most normal people. Graves Disease can affect anyone but you will find it mostly in elderly people, children, and infants. Normally it happens in the age group of seventeen to forty years old. In addition it is more prominent in women than men with the rate being as much as seven times higher for woman. Currently Graves Disease has affected more than thirteen million people.
Graves Disease Symptoms
People who are suffering from Graves Disease will usually show similar symptoms that people with hyperthyroidism are showing. These symptoms can include:
- Having high blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, and palpitations
- Having an increase in their appetite
- Loosing weight because their basal metabolism rate is very high
- Having breathlessness, nervousness, and tremors on your hands
- Being irritable, emotional instability, and erratic behavior, panic attacks
- Having insomnia and restlessness
- Having weak muscles
- Experiencing hair loss and brittle hair
- Swollen neck and enlargement of their thyroid gland referred to as a goiter
- Women have a lighter menstrual flow
- Experiencing warm skin and sweating
- Having diarrhea
- Developing a sensitivity to light
In addition to the general symptoms there are some that are very distinctive to Graves Disease. These distinct symptoms can include:
Inflammation of the eyes, muscles around the eye can swell, and bulging of the eyes. These symptoms are called Graves Ophthalmology. Normally only a small percentage of people with Graves Disease will suffer from these types of eye problems.
This symptom is rarely seen in people who have Graves Disease. If it happens the skin in front of the shins becomes lumpy, red, and thickens. This is called pretibial myxedema or Graves dermopathy
During pregnancy, there are two prominent symptoms of having Graves Disease which are:
- Having a sudden loss of weight
- Having an increase in your heart rate
When a person has an autoimmune disease such as Graves Disease the immune system will produce antibodies that will work against the tissues of the body itself instead of producing antibodies to destroy any foreign bodies. With Graves Disease the antibodies that are produced will bind themselves to the surface of your thyroid cells. This will cause your thyroid cells to produce more thyroid hormones. A high level of thyroid hormones increases in your blood resulting in hyperthyroidism. It is still not known exactly what causes your immune system to malfunction and cause this condition but there are some factors that are considered to possibly cause the malfunction in your immune system. Some of these factors include:
They have found no particular gene that triggers this malfunction but some scientist believe that there are certain people who just inherit an immune system that produces these antibodies that attack your healthy cells. Usually if a family member has Graves Disease other members will also get it.
This can include infections, toxins, stress, steroids, etc.
This can include iodine intake and female sex hormones.
Autoimmune diseases—if a person already has an autoimmune disease such as Type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can also get Graves Disease.
Graves Disease Treatment
The most effective treatment used today for Graves Disease was discovered many decades ago. There are many different treatments that can be used to treat this condition but if you are pregnant, treatment differs. Some of the treatments used to treat non-pregnant people include:
- Stopping the symptoms of your overactive thyroid gland by using beta blockers such as Inderal and Metoprolol,
- Using radioactive iodine to help bring under control your overactive thyroid cells
- Having surgery to completely remove your thyroid gland
- Taking anti-thyroid medications
Having Graves Disease can be a major health concern for some pregnant women and can be a high risk complication during pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with Graves Disease if would not be advisable to use general treatments because it can cause an adverse effect on the normal procedure of delivering the baby and on the developing fetus. The ways to treat Graves Disease while pregnant is:
- Curing your hypothyroidism by taking a medication that is safe to take during pregnancy called propylthiouracil (PTU) prescribed by your doctor.
- Surgery – this treatment is reserved for women who need a high dose of medication to help control their elevated levels of thyroid hormones or is allergic to the medication.
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes
You should make sure that you are exercising and eating a healthy well balanced diet. You should also try to reduce your stress level as much as you can.
- Apply cool compresses to your eyes
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays and bright lights
- Elevate the head of your bed to relieve any pressure on your eyes
- Use lubricating eye drops to help relieve the scratchy dry sensation on your eyes.
- Use an over-the-counter ointment or cream that contains hydrocortisone to help with the redness and swelling of your skin.
- Using compression wraps on your legs may help with the swelling.
Graves Disease Pictures
Photos, Images and Pictures of the Graves’ Disease