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Graves Disease

Graves Disease: Introduction

Graves' disease is a disease of the thyroid gland. Graves' disease results in an abnormal overactivity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front part of the neck, and the thyroid hormone it produces is vital to normal metabolism. In Graves' disease the thyroid is stimulated to produce too much thyroid hormone. Graves' disease is also called hyperthyroidism.

Increased production of thyroid hormone in Graves' disease leads to a stimulation or quickening of the body's metabolism. This results in symptoms of Graves' disease that include nervousness, anxiety, irritability, weight loss, bulging eyes, and hypertension. Graves' disease may also lead to serious, potentially life-threatening complications. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of Graves' disease.

Graves' disease is more common in women than in men. People over the age of fifty who have hypertension or atherosclerosis are at risk for developing Graves' disease.

Graves' disease can occur when the thyroid gland is attacked by the body's own immune system and causes it to become overactive and produce too much thyroid hormone. This form of Graves' disease is a type of autoimmune thyroid disease.

Graves' disease can also be caused by the growth of a thyroid nodule on the thyroid gland. A thyroid nodule is a noncancerous cyst that produces additional thyroid hormone, resulting in hyperthyroidism (high levels of thyroid hormone).

Making a diagnosis of Graves' disease begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. A physician or health care provider may feel larger than normal thyroid gland or goiter in the neck.

A blood test is performed to determine levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Low levels of TSH and high levels of thyroxine indicate that a thyroid gland is overactive and may indicate a diagnosis of Graves' disease.

A nuclear scan of the thyroid may also be done to visualize the thyroid gland and determine how it is affected by Graves' disease.

Other tests may be performed to check for potential complications of Graves' disease, such as heart disease. A chest X-ray may be done to evaluate the size of the heart and to check for fluid accumulation in the lungs that can occur with heart failure. An EKG may be done to diagnose abnormal heart rhythms.

It is possible that a diagnosis of Graves' disease can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be associated with other conditions, such as excessive caffeine use, angina, aging or stress. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of Graves' disease.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of Graves' disease can result in a good prognosis, and even a cure in some cases. With regular medical care and monitoring of Graves' disease, many people live active, normal life spans. Treatment of Graves' disease can include medication and surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of Graves' disease. ...more »

Graves Disease: Graves' disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting 13 million people and targeting women seven times ... more about Graves Disease.

Graves Disease: is an autoimmune disease characterized by hyperthyroidism due to circulating autoantibodies. Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSIs) bind to and activate thyrotropin receptors, causing the thyroid gland to grow and the thyroid follicles to increase synthesis of thyroid hormone. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Graves Disease is available below.

Graves Disease: Symptoms

The types and severity of symptoms of Graves' disease can vary between individuals. Symptoms are the result of an increased production of thyroid hormone, which leads to a stimulation or quickening of the body's metabolism.

Typical symptoms include anxiety, shaky hands, sweating, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, increased appetite, tremors, and weight ...more symptoms »

Graves Disease: Treatments

There is no way to prevent Graves' disease. However, with prompt recognition and treatment, high levels of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) can be returned to normal levels in the body. With regular medical care and monitoring of Graves' disease, many people live active, normal life spans.

Grave's disease may be treated with medications called beta blockers, which can minimize ...more treatments »

Graves Disease: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of Graves' disease may be delayed or missed because some symptoms, such as nervousness, irritability fatigue, weight gain, muscle aches and weakness can be ambiguous and/or mild. These symptoms can be easily attributed to other conditions, such as excessive coffee drinking, aging, stress, anxiety, excessive exercise, lack of exercise, perimenopause, cold ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Graves Disease

Treatments for Graves Disease

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Graves Disease?

Graves Disease: Related Patient Stories

Diagnostic Tests for Graves Disease

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Graves Disease: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Graves Disease:

Causes of Graves Disease

  • Graves's disease is autoimmune in etiology. The autoimmune process in Graves disease isinfluenced by a combination of environmental and genetic factors
  • more causes...»

More information about causes of Graves Disease:

Disease Topics Related To Graves Disease

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Graves Disease:

Less Common Symptoms of Graves Disease

Graves Disease: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Graves Disease

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of different...read more »

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Thyroid disorders greatly under-diagnosed: One study found that about 10% of people had undiagnosed thyroid disorders, mostly hyperthyroidism, but also hypothyroidism. The symptoms of thyroid...read more »

Graves Disease: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Graves Disease

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Graves Disease:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Graves Disease, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Graves Disease: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Graves Disease

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Graves Disease

Medical research articles related to Graves Disease include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Prognosis for Graves Disease

Prognosis for Graves Disease: Most patients become hypothyroid and require replacement. Similarly, the ophthalmopathy generally becomes quiescent. On occasion, hyperthyroidism returns because of persisting thyroid tissue after ablation and high antibody titers of anti-TSI. Further therapy may be necessary in the form of surgery or radioactive iodine ablation.

Research about Graves Disease

Visit our research pages for current research about Graves Disease treatments.

Clinical Trials for Graves Disease

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Graves Disease include:

Prevention of Graves Disease

Prevention information for Graves Disease has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Graves Disease.

Statistics for Graves Disease

Graves Disease: Broader Related Topics

Graves Disease Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Graves Disease, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Graves Disease

Endocrine Diseases: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Graves' disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting 13 million people and targeting women seven times as often as men. Patients with Graves' disease produce an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. (Source: excerpt from Endocrine Diseases: NWHIC)

Graves' Disease: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Graves' Disease is a type of autoimmune disease in which the immune system over stimulates the thyroid gland, causing hyperthyroidism. Over-activity of the thyroid gland is also sometimes called "diffuse toxic goiter." The thyroid gland helps set the rate of metabolism (the rate at which the body uses energy), and when it is over-stimulated, it produces more thyroid hormones than the body needs. High levels of thyroid hormones can cause difficult side effects. This is an extremely rare disease that tends to affect women over the age of 20. The incidence is about 5 in 10,000 people. (Source: excerpt from Graves' Disease: NWHIC)

Thyroid Disease: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Grave's disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune condition in which the body produces antibodies that overstimulate the thyroid gland, so that it produces too much thyroid hormone. (Source: excerpt from Thyroid Disease: NWHIC)

Definitions of Graves Disease:

Hyperthyroidism associated with diffuse hyperplasia of the thyroid gland (goiter), resulting from production of antibodies that are directed against the thyrotropin receptor complex of the follicular epithelial cells. As a result, the thyroid gland enlarges and secrets increased amounts of thyroid hormones. --2004 - (Source - Diseases Database)

Exophthalmos occurring in association with goiter; hyperthyroidism with protrusion of the eyeballs - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

 

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