Symptoms and Treatments of Graves Disease
Graves disease is a condition that affects the thyroid gland. When the thyroid gland produces too much of a hormone called TSH, it causes Graves disease symptoms. In rare cases, it may also be caused by thyroid tumors or a TSH-producing pituitary adenoma. Patients who take too much thyroid hormone may also experience hyperthyroid symptoms.
How do I know if I’ve got Graves disease?
The first step in determining whether you have Graves disease is to undergo a blood test. Your doctor will measure the amount of thyroid hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood. If you have elevated levels of these hormones, you may have Graves disease. Your doctor may recommend that you take certain medications to control symptoms until your thyroid returns to normal.
Overactive thyroid hormones can cause a number of symptoms, including nervousness, extreme fatigue, hand tremors, frequent bowel movements, difficulty tolerating heat, weight loss, and excessive sweating. Some people with Graves disease may also develop an enlarged thyroid, or goiter, which can make your neck appear swollen and interfere with breathing and swallowing.
Patients with Graves disease are often treated with radioactive iodine therapy. This treatment involves taking small doses of radioactive iodine, usually in the form of a pill. However, patients should note that these medications are often temporary and do not cure Graves disease.
What triggers Graves disease?
Graves’ disease can be life-threatening, and it’s important to understand the symptoms and treatments for this condition. Graves’ disease is caused by an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms include a visible lump on the neck called a goiter. If left untreated, goiters can cause swelling in the neck, coughing, and disrupt sleep.
Graves’ disease affects primarily women, and typically begins between the ages of 30 and 50. However, it can also affect children and older adults. The risk of developing Graves’ disease is also higher in individuals with a family history of thyroid problems. The disease is also more common in women than in men. To diagnose the condition, a doctor may order lab tests to check for the condition. However, your medical history and physical exam will help the doctor to narrow down the diagnosis.
Graves’ disease symptoms vary, and they can occur during remission or during an episode of hyperthyroidism. In some cases, it can cause eye problems and swelling of the eyelids. In others, it may result in vision loss. However, most people with this condition have a mild disease that may go away on its own.
What is the most common cause of Graves disease?
Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland and results in overproduction of thyroid hormone. It affects more women than men and is treatable with medicine. However, if left untreated, Graves disease can cause serious complications and can even lead to death.
One of the most noticeable symptoms of Graves disease is an enlarged thyroid gland called goiter. It appears as a visible bulge on the neck. If untreated, goiter can cause difficulty swallowing and breathing and cause severe sleep deprivation.
Graves disease can be treated with medication or surgery. Permanent treatments for Graves disease usually include the use of radioactive iodine. This radioactive iodine damages the thyroid gland without damaging other parts of the body. Usually, radioactive iodine is administered in capsules that are taken with a glass of water. The radioactive iodine travels through the blood stream to the thyroid gland and damages its tissue. The thyroid gland then shrinks over time and the symptoms of the disease will gradually subside.
Other symptoms of Graves disease include skin and eye problems. Treatments for skin and eye symptoms can help reduce irritation and reduce the risk of vision loss. If the eye condition is severe enough, the doctor may recommend surgery to repair the eyelids, eye muscles, or the bone structure between the eye and the sinuses.
What happens if Graves disease goes untreated?
If Graves disease is left untreated, the symptoms can become worse. The eyes may become bulging, red, and dry. The eyelids may also be inflamed, leading to double vision. The swollen eye muscles can impair the optic nerve, leading to progressive vision loss. In severe cases, a patient may experience permanent blindness.
Skin problems associated with Graves’ disease include thickened skin on the shins and feet. The skin may also become brittle. In some cases, the disease can lead to severe heart problems, brittle bones, and a life-threatening condition called a thyroid storm. It can even be fatal if it affects a newborn.
Surgery is one of the options for treating Graves’ disease. Thyroid surgery is an option for some patients, especially if radioactive iodine therapy has failed to produce any results. However, this option may be unsuitable for some women, as it may result in hypothyroidism. Alternatively, patients can take synthetic thyroid pills to achieve proper thyroid hormone levels.