Graves' disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism. Complications can include hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias and thyroid eye disease but treatments are available.
Posted on Aug 7, 2009
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid gland that results in abnormally high levels of thyroid hormone to be released into the body causing hyperthyroidism. There is no cure for Graves’ but progression of the disease can be halted by removing the thyroid gland. Mild to moderate cases may be successfully treated through drug therapies.
How Common is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease affects up to 1% of the U.S. population or up to 3-million people, which is about 5 in every 10,000 people and is 7 times more common in women than in men. Graves’ patients are among the 190 million people worldwide who experience goiters but in the case of Graves’ the goiter is “toxic” (toxic diffuse goiter), meaning it is causing abnormally high thyroid hormone levels or “thyrotoxicity” (hyperthyroidism). Graves’ patients can experience complications from the disease, including an inflammatory condition in the eyes called “Thyroid Eye Disease” or “Graves’ Ophthalmology”. It is estimated that about half (50%) of all Graves’ patient will develop this complication of the disease affecting the eyes. How Many Americans Suffer Thyroid Disorders?-Suite101
Is Hyperthyroidism Present in all Graves’ Patients?
The point at which hyperthyroidism sets in varies among those found to have the auto-antibodies causing Graves’ disease, called “Thyroid Stimulating Immunglobuins” (TSI). Most patients may be positive for these “thyroid antibodies” months or years before the level of them becomes elevated enough to cause hyperthyroidism. The reason this may be the case is due to the fact that most people who are found to have Graves’, are tested because they are already manifesting the signs or symptoms