Graves disease is usually a non life-threatening disease that affects your thyroid gland. Its caused by your immune system producing abnormal antibodies which mimic TSH(which is your thyroid stimulating hormone). The TSH is usually released by your pituitary gland which is in your brain, but with Graves disease it is not released. The antibodies then send your thyroid into overdrive producing way to much of the hormone. Its uncertain what actually causes the thyroid to go into overdrive but it is said that genetics and environmental causes could be what triggers it.
Graves disease affects more women than men, usually is about 8-10 times more often for a woman to get it than a man. Like I said earlier Graves disease is usually an non life threatening disease, but the symptoms could range for uncomfortable to almost unbearable. The symptoms that you would get depend on the duration of the disease, how much of the abnormal antibody you are producing, and how old you are. You could end up having vocal problems if the thyroid becomes too enlarged. The most noticeable symptom of the disease would be the protruding eyeball or it could even be both eyes.
Graves disease has many symptoms and signs, we will talk about a few more. Sometimes the skin on your lower legs can become lumpy and red. Your heartbeat will usually be irregular in some way, and sometimes in very severe cases you could die from a cardiovascular collapse. Some patients even had an excessive stimuli when it came to certain activities, which caused their fatigue that usually comes with the disease to be even worse. Patients have a very low heat tolerance and will seem to sweat very easily, or even have excessive sweating problems.
It is sometimes said that if a man has the disease then he will have enlarged breasts. The goals when treating Graves disease are to slow down the production of the thyroid hormone and to block the effects of those said hormones. Treatments can include, radioactive iodine therapy. When doing the radioactive iodine therapy you take it by mouth. The hormone needs iodine to be produced so when you take the pill the thyroid will take up the thyroid, which in time will slowly cause your thyroid gland to shrink.
It is totally possible that because of the declined thyroid activity that you will possibly have to be on medication later in life to supplement for it. Anti-thyroid medications interfere with the thyroids use of iodine to produce hormones. When going with this method a relapse of the disease may occur again later on down the road. Also, the side effects could cause liver failure. Beta blockers are another widely used medication, which block the effect the hormones actually have on your body.
Beta blockers work typically fast to relieve the symptoms of graves disease, but if you stopped taking it all together it could possibly cause heart failure. If none of those medications worked then they would do surgery. In the surgery they would completely remove your thyroid, in that case you would have to take medications to provide your thyroid with normal hormones for the rest of your life. One in every two patients having Graves disease has suffered problems in their everyday life, whether that’s psychically, mentally, or even socially.
This is mostly because of the eye problems that they have. When its treated correctly most patients are seemed to stabilize, even though this may sometimes take up to a year. Like I said earlier anybody CAN get the disease, but it mostly effects women age 20 or above. Unfortunately there is no cure for the disease, but some of the treatments I listed above can at least make a person more comfortable. The symptoms for Graves disease can range from barely there to extremely noticeable. The symptoms may sometimes disappear in times of no stress and then come back very bad in times of high stress.
You could go into remission after having the disease, and its been said that diet and a lifestyle change could possibly help. Pregnancy could also play a part in the disease, since it effects your thyroid.
Works Cited: http://www. womenshealth. gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/graves- disease http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/graves-disease/DS00181 http://www. webmd. com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-graves-disease-basics http://www. medicalnewstoday. com/articles/170005. php.