About Graves’ Disease
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects 1 in 200 people in the United States. Although anyone can get it, it is most common among women and people under 40. Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, a condition that causes an overproduction of thyroid hormones. Because these hormones affect different body systems, symptoms associated with Graves’ disease can vary.
Some common symptoms include:
- Heart palpitations
- Bulging eyes
- Frequent bowel movements
- Changes in menstrual cycles
- Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
- Heat sensitivity
- Anxiety and irritability
- Weight loss
Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
There is still a lot we don’t know about Grave’s disease. Medical professionals know that Graves’ disease is caused by a malfunction in the body’s immune system. The malfunction causes the body to release abnormal antibodies that are similar to thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH). These antibodies cause the thyroid to produce an excessive amount of hormones. But why this happens is unclear.
Graves’ disease can be diagnosed from the results of just a few tests. Your healthcare provider will likely do a physical exam and an exam of your neck to see if your thyroid gland is enlarged. He or she may also draw blood and analyze it to see if a few specific hormone levels are higher than usual. If they are, and you also have low levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone, you may have hyperthyroidism–and Graves’ disease could be the cause.
Treatment for Graves’ disease is focused on controlling hyperthyroidism. Your physician may also prescribe medications to help alleviate other symptoms you are experiencing. If you are concerned that you may have Grave’s disease, visit your local FastMed Urgent Care. Our medical professionals review your symptoms, conduct blood work, and help you book an appointment with a specialist.