Graves Disease is a disorder of the immune system that causes hyperthyroidism as a result of the excess production of thyroid hormones. The overproduction of thyroid hormones is caused by overstimulation of the thyroid gland by thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins (TSIs). Graves Disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism in the US.
If you get Graves Disease as a result of exposure to substances at work that activates your hyperthyroidism, it may be covered by The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). Graves Disease is caused by a variety of disorders so you will have to prove the validity of your claim.
Hyperthyroidism affects several systems in the body, hence the signs and symptoms of Graves Disease may vary widely.
Signs and symptoms of Graves Disease
There are prevalent signs and symptoms of Graves Disease including:
- Fine tremors in hands and fingers
- Increased sensitivity to heat leading to increased perspiration
- Weight loss even when eating regularly
- Growth of the thyroid gland leading to a diffuse thyrotoxic goiter
- Change in menstrual activity more specifically lighter and less frequent menstrual flow
- Anxiety and long periods of irritability
- Incessant bowel movements
- Faster and irregular heart rate and regular heart palpitations
- Thinning and brittle hair
- Trouble getting pregnant
- Erectile dysfunction and reduced libido
- Thick, inflamed skin on the shin or on the top of the feet also known as Graves’ dermopathy
- Bulging of the eyes also known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Graves’ ophthalmopathy affects about 30% of Grave Disease victims. One may also experience other issues affecting your eyes including a gritty sensation often experienced as pressure or pain in the eyes. The eyelids may be puffy and retracted and appear red and inflamed. Other visual afflictions may include increased sensitivity to light, double vision or sight loss.
Causes of Graves Disease
It is known that Graves Disease is caused by impairment of the body’s immune system. However, the reason that causes the impairment still remains a mystery.
A response of the immune system usually observed when one has Graves Disease is the production of immune antibodies namely thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) in response to a virus, bacterium or alien substance in the body. The antibodies are then sent to a specific area, the thyroid gland, where they attach themselves to thyroid cells. The reason for why the antibodies act this way is yet to be understood (Smith T.J, 2016).
The TSIs act like thyroid stimulating hormones, which is usually produced in the pituitary gland, but they cannot regulate the amount of thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland hence the overproduction of hormones that leads to Graves Disease.
Risk factors that may lead to Graves Disease
Certain factors make people more susceptible to Graves Disease and include:
- Family history. If your family has a history of Graves Disease then you are more likely to contract the disease due to your genetics.
- Gender. It is a fact that women are more likely to be victims of Graves Diseases than men.
- Age. Graves Disease is more likely to affect people who are less than 40 years old.
- Autoimmune disorders. If you have any other autoimmune disorders for example rheumatoid arthritis, you are more likely to contract Graves Disease.
- Stress. Both physical and emotional stress makes you more susceptible to Graves Disease.
- Pregnancy. Being pregnant or having recently given birth increases your chances of developing Graves Disease especially if your family has a history of the disease.
- Smoking. Smoking nicotine negatively affects the immune system and increases the risk of Graves Disease.
Treatment for Graves Disease
There are three treatment methods for Graves Disease namely medicine, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery. Radioiodine therapy is the most common one of the three. However, the use of medicine to treat Graves Disease has risen in the past.
The method of treatment recommended by a physician will depend on factors such as age, family history, if one is pregnant and the existence of preexisting conditions.
Contact UEW Healthcare today
Graves Disease is caused by the overproduction of thyroid hormones, leading to hyperthyroidism. Graves Disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism in the US.
Graves Disease has many signs and symptoms including hand tremors, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, heart palpitations, Graves dermopathy and Graves’ ophthalmopathy.
Graves Disease is caused by an impairment of the body’s immune system. The root cause of the impairment remains unknown.
There are certain factors that make you more susceptible to Graves Disease including smoking, age, gender and family history.
Treatment of Graves Disease includes three options: medicine, surgery and radioiodine therapy.