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Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Children's Chronic Diseases | 0 comments

Graves Disease

Graves Disease

Graves Disease

Graves disease is an autoimmune disease in which the patient’s own immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to produce too much thyroxine. It is the most common form of hyperthyroidism. When thyroxine levels are high the patient’s metabolic rate increases; this can have an effect on their physical appearance as well as moods. Graves’ disease is rarely life-threatening.

Patients commonly have mild symptoms of Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Exophthalmos means bulging or protruding eyes. Graves’ ophthalmopathy includes bulging eyes. The tissues and muscles behind the eyes become inflamed (they swell). The eye socket (orbit) is hard and inflexible and cannot accommodate the larger eyeball, so the eye bulges out. Graves’ ophthalmopathy is much more common among smokers with Graves’ disease compared to non-smokers with Graves’ disease.

Because thyroid hormones affect a number of different body systems, signs and symptoms associated with Graves disease can be wide ranging and significantly influence your overall well-being. Symptoms can be:

  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
  • Tachycardia (accelerated heart beat)
  • Tremor in the hands and fingers
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Weight loss, even though the patient eats properly
  • Brittle hair
  • Goiter (thyroid gland is enlarged)
  • Menstrual cycle changes
  • Bowel movements are more frequent

The treatment goals for Graves’ disease are to inhibit the production of thyroid hormones and to block the effect of the hormones on the body. Some treatments include:

  • Radioactive iodine therapy
  • Anti-thyroid medications
  • Beta blockers
  • Surgery

 

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