Graves' Disease

In the thyroid gland

Everyone Craves to Learn about Graves!

The disease begins because the immune system creates antibodies (aka thyroid-stimulating immunoglobins) which cause the thyroid to increase the production of the thyroid hormone. It makes more than what the body needs. This causes the immune system to mistakenly turn against the body.

Symptoms

  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety/irritability
  • Disruption of sleep/insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems/bulging eyes
  • Swollen neck due to enlarged thyroid gland
  • Coughing
  • Skin thickening

How the Body Tries to Balance

Thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) regulate the amount of hormones the thyroid creates. If there is too little hormones being produced then more TSH will be sent out. If too much is being produced, which is the case in Graves' disease, less TSH will be sent out so the thyroid decreases the amount of hormones being made. The TSH is sent out through the pituitary gland. (To the right is where this gland is located)

Treatment

  • Anti thyroid medications
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Surgery

The treatments can cause vision problems and irritation to the eye. Therapy could be needed for it. If a patient has surgery or radioactive iodine then they will need to take replacement thyroid hormones for the rest of their life because these treatments destroy and remove the gland.

By Hannah Laychock