What is Graves’ disease?
Graves’ disease is a type of hyperthyroidism that is caused by a generalized over activity of the entire thyroid gland. It is named on Robert Graves, an Irish physician, who was the first to determine this disease. It is one of the most common of all thyroid problems. It is the major cause of hyperthyroidism, a condition in which thyroid gland produces excessive hormones. Once the disorder has been correctly diagnosed, it’s easy to treat. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications and even death. With Graves disease there’s no long-term adverse health affect if the patient receives proper medical care.
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is one of the endocrine glands, which prepare hormones to form physiological functions in your body. The thyroid glands manufacture thyroid hormone, which regulates the rate at which your body carries on its necessary functions such as growth and metabolism.
The thyroid gland is located in the center of the lower neck, below the larynx and just above your clavicles. The shape of thyroid is like a “bow tie”, having two halves a right lobe and the left lobe joined by an – isthmus.
What Causes Graves’ disease?
Some process within a body’s immune usually fires Graves’ disease, which normally protects us from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. The immune system destroys foreign invaders with substance called as antibodies produced by blood cells known as lymphocytes. Many people inherit an immune system that can cause problems. Their lymphocytes make antibodies against their own tissues that damage them. However, in Graves’ disease antibodies bind to the surface of thyroid cells and stimulate those cells to overproduce thyroid hormones. This results in overactive thyroid.
Graves’ disease can be caused by a group of different facts that come together to cause thyroid problems usually includes heredity, body’s immune system, age, sex hormones and stress to some extent.
Symptoms of Graves’ disease
The symptoms of Graves’ disease includes an enlarged of thyroid gland, nervousness, heat intolerance, weight loss, tremors, sweating and diarrhea.However, Graves’ disease can also manifest with anyone of the following listed below:
- Shortness of breath
- Pretibial myxedema (lumpy, reddish-colored thickening of the skin,usually on
- usually on the shins)
- Muscle wasting
- Increased eye tearing
- Brittle nails
- Increased hair loss
Can Graves’ disease be treated?
Yes Graves disease can be treated and there are three possible treatments available for Graves’ disease as follows:
Surgery: All the possible thyroid gland in your body will be removed. In most cases, people who have surgery for Graves’ disease will or could develop an under-active thyroid – opposite to hyperthyroidism and have to take thyroid replacement hormones for the entire lifetime.
Medicine: Some of the medicines available are antithyroid drugs that can help reduce the amount of thyroid hormones made by the thyroid causing it to make normal.
Radioactive iodine: The radioactive iodine can help damage thyroid cells, shrinking and literally destroying the thyroid gland in order to minimize hormone levels. Like surgery, this one can leads to hyperthyroidism, so that the thyroid hormone medication is needed for the entire lifetime.
After all the medication treatment is done, you should visit to your doctor for regular check-ups and visit every year to make sure that the thyroid levels are normal.