What Is Graves Disease? Learn About Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

You may have got familiar with the name after the talk show host, Wendy Williams talked about it. But there are hundreds of people around this world who are suffering from Graves’ Disease. Though it is not that life-threatening it still severely impacts the patient’s health. But what is it and how does it happen? Today, we are discussing Graves’ Disease and more in detail.

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What is Graves’ Disease?

In the early 19th century, the disease was first elaborated on by Sir Robert Graves. That’s why the disease has been named after him only. We all know that the thyroid gland is pretty small in size that has a butterfly-like shape. It is located at the front of your neck and is responsible for releasing hormones.

What Is Graves Disease?
What Is Graves Disease?

Now, Graves’ disease is deemed to be an autoimmune disorder that leads to the overproduction of a person’s thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Please do not be mistaken that Graves’ Disease is the only reason behind hyperthyroidism. To clarify, this is one of the common causes of hyperthyroidism but not the absolute reason.

As a matter of fact, thyroid hormones can choose to affect any and many different body systems. There the signs and symptoms tend to vary from one person to another. It is always recommended to check your symptoms with the doctor to find the truth of the condition.

What Are The Causes of Graves’ Disease?

It is a known fact that the thyroid glands are the main organs controlling metabolism. In short, “the speed at which the body converts food into energy” determines your metabolism. Now, this metabolism is totally connected with the number of hormones that get circulated throughout your bloodstream. In case, your thyroid glands end up secreting excess of such hormones, your body’s metabolism will automatically get higher which will lead to an increase in heart pounding, profuse sweating, trembling, and even weight loss at some points.

The thyroid usually starts producing thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). However, in Graves’ Disease, abnormal antibodies are released that pretend to act like TSH. This is usually common among women and affects those who are usually younger than 40 years old.

The Symptoms of Graves’ Disease

As mentioned before, the symptoms of Graves’ disease totally differ from person to person. You can have a few or many symptoms at the same time. So what are these symptoms? 

The Symptoms of Graves’ Disease
The Symptoms of Graves’ Disease
  •     High level of anxiety and irritability
  •     Bulging eyes
  •     Extreme sensitivity to heat, profuse perspiration, warm or moist skin
  •     Palpitations and increase in heartbeat
  •     Sudden weight loss in spite of following normal eating habits
  •     Lack of sleep
  •     Thyroid gland enlarges
  •     Increase in bowel movements
  •     Constant feeling of tiredness
  •     Menstrual cycles undergo changes
  •     May suffer from erectile dysfunction or sharp reduction in libido
  •     Skin starts turning red and thick on the shins or your feet top

So, skin and eye complications are the most common types of symptoms in the case of Graves’ Disease. Your vision may get affected in the long-term and sometimes, people suffer from vision loss as well. However, it only happens in severe cases of Graves’ Disease.

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How To Treat Graves’ Disease?

To come to the main point, there are two main ways of treating Graves’ Disease. The first one is that you can stop the overproduction of the thyroid hormone from your glands. Or else, you need to prevent and take measures to stop high levels of thyroid hormone to affect your health. There are multiple treatments available in modern days. These are mainly Radioactive iodine therapy, then you can take anti-thyroid medications, beta-blockers, or go for surgery.

However, please note that the medications are suggested based on the severity of the issue. It is always advisable to check with your doctors first before consuming any medication. Because one simple mistake can ruin your life. Almost 60% to 80% of the hyperthyroidism cases consist of Graves’ Disease. In the United States alone, around 1.2% of the population is suffering from hyperthyroidism. So, if you are someone who is struggling with Graves’ Disease, take professional help and start walking toward a healthy lifestyle. It is nothing to worry about, just take proper medication and things will get better with time.

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