Graves disease (GD)

Overview

GD occurs when specific antibodies mistakenly bind to thyroid cells, overriding the normal regulation of the thyroid, causing the thyroid to produce and release excessive thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).

Common Symptoms

Weight loss, muscle weakness, hand tremors, rapid and irregular heartbeat, anxiety, decreased libido, heat sensitivity, diarrhea, goiter, weight loss, puffy eyes, trouble sleeping, irritability, and enlarged thyroid.  More rarely, eye and skin conditions occur. One-third of people with GD will develop eye inflammation, and about 5% of affected individuals will experience severe or permanent vision issues.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Hashimoto’s disease, subacute thyroiditis, silent thyroiditis, infectious thyroiditis, radiation-induced thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis.

Risk Factors

Having another autoimmune disease can exacerbate one’s risk of developing GD. These include rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, lupus, Addison’s disease, celiac disease, vitiligo, and type 1 diabetes. Additionally, having a family history of GD is a known risk factor. Pregnancy, having recently given birth, and smoking cigarettes have been found to increase one’s risk.

Sources

  1. Article Sources and Footnotes
    1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, December 5). Graves’ disease. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/graves-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20356240#:~:text=Graves’%20disease%20is%20an%20immune,disease%20can%20be%20wide%20ranging

    2. NORD – National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. Graves’ Disease. NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/graves-disease/.

    3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Graves’ Disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/graves-disease.

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