Graves’ disease can have a variety of symptoms.
Hormones are essential to the proper functioning of many body systems.
They affect metabolism, energy levels, temperature regulation, and reproduction.
Although several ailments can affect hormone levels, Graves’ disease can be particularly problematic.
According to a recent Verywell Health article titled “What Is Graves’ Disease?” Graves’ disease is a type of hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism involves excessive hormone production by the thyroid.
What are the common symptoms of Graves’ disease?
Symptoms of Graves’ are often similar to those of other types of hyperthyroidism.
These include agitation, changes to the menstrual cycle, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, fertility problems, frequent bowel movements, heart palpitations, hypertension, insomnia, increased appetite, decreased appetite, increased heat tolerance, increased sweating, irritability, muscle weakness, thinning hair, shaking hands, shortness of breath, and weight loss.
Goiter is also common in hyperthyroidism.
Goiter occurs when the thyroid gland becomes enlarged.
Although these symptoms are not exclusive to Graves’ disease, other symptoms occur especially with this condition.
What are they?
Another name for this condition is Graves’ orbitopathy.
It specifically causes bulging eyes.
This bulging leads to pressure around the eye, sensitive eyes, and reduced vision.
The swelling is a result of the autoimmune nature of the disease and impacts about one-third of individuals affected by Graves’ disease.
Another issue specifically associated with Graves’ over other types of hyperthyroidism is thyroid dermopathy.
Also called Graves’ dermopathy, it can lead to severe itching, swelling, and thickening of the skin.
When the thyroid dermopathy progresses, it can become acropachy.
Acropachy can be recognized by deformities in the toes and fingers.
How is Graves’ disease diagnosed?
Although symptoms of the first indicators, Graves’s is confirmed through blood tests and physical exams.
At times, imaging tests may be required.
Treatments of Graves’ disease include anti-thyroid medications, radioactive iodine therapy, and treatment for symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
In rare instances, surgery is also used to alleviate symptoms.
If you suspect Graves’ disease, contact your doctor for an exam.
Left untreated, Graves’ disease can lead to heart disease and osteoporosis.
Reference: Verywell Health (Aug. 29, 2022) “What Is Graves’ Disease?”