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What is Graves Disease? – Graves Disease Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Graves Disease Symptoms – Human body is a very good thing. You might get surprised to know that your body can automatically heal yourself, but the healing process is going to be slow. When you go to your doctor for any broken bone, your doctors don’t just glue your bones together. Your body can heal even broken bones.

The ability to heal the body itself is known as the immune system. You might have seen that you can get better within two to three days after getting the flu without taking any medicine. That, my friend, is the immune system. The performance of the immune system is not just limited to helping you get better from diseases, but it can also help your body to save itself from various diseases.

In recent months you might have heard about several debates on the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine. If COVID vaccines are working fine, then your body will fight the virus on its own. Today we are not here to talk about COVID-19 or any other disease, but we will talk about an autoimmune disease called Graves disease.

It is going to be a very interesting topic as you might learn something new about your body. There is a special category of diseases called autoimmune. 

What is Graves disease?

Graves Disease is an autoimmune disease in which your body keeps overproducing Thyroid hormone. It is the same hormone that is known to regulate body temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. The overactive thyroid gland can cause a huge number of problems, including heart, muscles, and bones.

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in front of your neck under the skin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States believe that we record around 3 million cases of Graves disease each year.

Autoimmune diseases are very complicated to handle. For example, if you get any disease, the first response of your body is going to save itself. 

What if the virus or the bacteria is already out of your system, and your immune system still thinks it is there and keeps fighting? 

That is called autoimmune disease. Your body will keep fighting the disease even if it’s not there. It can have so many negative impacts on your overall health.

Symptoms of Graves disease

Before we talk about anything else that we waited for, autoimmune diseases or Graves disease, let’s first discuss the symptoms of the condition. There is a high probability that you might develop these symptoms over months.

Apart from that, there is also a high probability that you might only experience a few of those symptoms rather than getting all the symptoms at once.

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention will leave people who have been diagnosed with Graves disease might experience the below-given list of symptoms.

  • Weight-loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling shaky
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Moist skin
  • Intolerance of Heat
  • Difficulty while sleeping
  • Weight gain
  • Hair fall
  • Menstrual changes
  • muscle weakness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggest everyone not diagnose themselves based on the above-given list of symptoms. 

Most of the above-given symptoms are also associated with a huge number of diseases, and you don’t need to get diagnosed with Graves in case you are having any trouble given symptoms.

Graves Disease Symptoms
Graves Disease Symptoms

Severe Symptoms

Apart from the above-given list of symptoms, Graves disease is also known to affect your eyes, and you might develop the below-given symptoms.

  • Irritated eyes
  • Swelling of tissues around your eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pressure or pain in your eyes
  • Bulging eyes
  • Double vision

Health experts call it thyroid eye disease, and there are 33% chance that you might develop this condition if you have been diagnosed with Graves’ disease. 

The CDC suggests everyone consult with their health care provider if they are experiencing the mixture of the above-given symptoms.

What are the risk factors for Graves disease?

Before we move ahead to the diagnosis and the treatment process of Graves’ disease, let’s first take a look at all the risk factors because they are more important for you to learn.

There are 0% chances that you can convince your doctor to go for any other medical approach. But there are very high chances that you can prevent Graves’ disease or be detected as early as possible.

Family history

Graves and disease are highly influenced by your family history. If any of your blood relatives have a similar disease or Graves’ disease, then you should consult with your health care provider as early as possible. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already mentioned on its official website that the family history of the person is important When it comes to Graves’ disease.

Gender

The data points have already indicated several times that women are more vulnerable to Graves’ disease as compared to men. Scientists or health experts around the world are yet to find the reason behind this coincidence.

Emotional Stress

There is also a high probability that you might trigger graves and disease if you are struggling with emotional or physical stress for a longer period. Apart from that, sudden life events, including the demise of close relatives, can also trigger similar stress.  

You should be very careful if anyone has been diagnosed with any disease related to the thyroid and you have been experiencing emotional stress for a longer period.

Smoking

Smoking is one of the few things which are in your hand that can highly influence whether you get Graves’ disease or not. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that people who smoke are more vulnerable to Graves’ disease as compared to non-smokers. 

Diagnosis of Graves disease

If you believe you are struggling with the above-given symptoms, then you can consult with your healthcare provider. 

Your health care provider will be able to help you with some tests. Your doctor might be able to diagnose you if you or your family already have a history of a similar disease. Still, some tests can help you and your doctor to decide.

Blood Test

When you first reach for diagnosis of Graves’ disease, your healthcare provider is going to suggest you go for a blood test to determine the levels of stimulating thyroid hormone in your body. There is a sweet balance of TSH and thyroid hormones in your body.

People with higher thyroid hormone levels are going to have lower levels of TSH. Apart from that, your doctor might also suggest you get yourself tested for the antibody which is known to cause Graves’ disease.

Radioactive iodine uptake

The second most popular test to diagnose Graves’ disease is radioactive iodine uptake. Your body requires time to make thyroid hormones. During the test, your doctor will give you radioactive iodine to measure the rate at which your thyroid gland takes up iodine. 

Apart from that, radioactive iodine uptake tests can also help your doctor to rule out any other possibility that could be causing similar symptoms with the involvement of the thyroid gland.

Treatment of Graves disease

Before we wrap up this session, let’s take a quick look at all the treatment options available for Graves’ disease. 

There are several options your doctor can use to trade Graves’ disease, including surgery, medicine, etc. It all depends on your situation and your history with similar diseases.

Anti Thyroid Medicines

Anti thyroid medicines are among the most popular treatments for Graves’ disease. These medicines are capable of interfering with the thyroid use of iodine. All anti-thyroid medicines are available with a prescription in the United States.

There are different types of Anti thyroid medicines available on the market, and your doctor will use them depending on your condition. For example, pregnant women might not get similar Anti thyroid medicine as compared to an adult male.

Apart from that, you should also make sure that you are not using any anti-thyroid medicine for a longer period. Taking this type of medicine for more than a year can cause long-term effects on your overall health.

Surgery

At the same time, your doctor might also suggest you go for surgery to remove all or some parts of your thyroid gland. If your doctor decides to remove all of your thyroid glands, then you will require its supply of thyroid hormones. It is a very complicated surgery, and usually, doctors do not suggest it to everyone who has been diagnosed with Graves’ disease.

Who is at risk of developing Graves disease?

Current released data points suggest that Graves disease affects females more than males. Even though it can affect children, it becomes more serious during the age of 30 to 50. People who have a history of Graves’ disease or chain smokers have more chances of getting diagnosed with the disease as compared to any normal person. Apart from that, people who already have an autoimmune disease are more vulnerable to getting diagnosed with Graves’ disease.

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