What is Graves' Disease?
Graves’ disease is a type of autoimmune issue that causes the patients thyroid gland to over create thyroid hormones. The disease causes the neck to swell and eyes to protrude due to the overactive thyroid gland. When the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of hormones, this is called hyperthyroidism. The doctor Robert J. Graves first identified this disease in 1835, therefore the disease was named after him.
How does Graves' Disease Affect the Immune System? Edit
Graves’ disease causes your immune system to create antibodies that then forces the thyroid to grow and create more hormones than needed by your body. If you have Graves' disease, you immune system will mistakenly turn against your body. Your immune system creates thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSI), and these antibodies cause the thyroid gland to produce more hormones than needed. The antibodies, are responsible for enforcing thethyroid to produce more hormones, which leads to hyperthyroidism.
Signs and Symptoms Edit
Signs and symptoms of Graves' disease may include an enlarged thyroid, trouble sleeping, being sensitive to head and increased sweating, hand tremors, rapid heartbeat, bowel movements, weight loss without dieting, muscle weakness and nervousness.
Diagnosis of the disease may include;
-Physical Exam: the doctor examines your eyes to see if their irritated protruding and sees if your thyroid gland is enlarged
-Blood Sample: your doctor will look at blood tests to determine the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
-Radioactive Iodine Uptake: By in taking a small amount of radioactive iodine, your body will slowly start to stop producing excessive amounts of hormones.
-Ultrasounds: The ultrasound uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body to see if your thyroid is enlarged and is most useful for those who cannot intake the radioactive iodine such as pregnant women.
-Imaging Tests: These tests include CT scans, X-rays and MRI's, these help your doctor take a closer look at your disease.
Some of the treatments include;
-Radioactive Iodine Therapy: where you intake radioactive iodine and destroys the overactive thyroid cells over time
-Anti-thyroid medications: where the medications interferes with the thyroid's use of iodine to produce hormones and over time stops producing an excessive amount of hormones
-Block Effect: where this medications blocks the effect of hormones on the body.
-Surgery: during the surgery, doctors would remove part or all of the thyroid to prevent any future diseases.