The hormone disorder hypothyroidism can be caused by many conditions, says Marla Ahlgrimm. One of these is Graves’ disease.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, when you have Graves’ disease, your thyroid gland becomes vulnerable to attacks by your immune system. Your body is then forced to make more thyroid hormones, and certain functions speed up. Around 90% of all cases of hyperthyroidism are caused by Graves’ disease, which is most common in women aged 30 and older.
Marla Ahlgrimm notes that women with a family history of this or Hashimoto’s disease may be more likely to experience hyperthyroidism. Further, Graves’ disease tends to affect individuals with specific health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, and type I diabetes.
Graves’ disease is a serious health concern. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that, in addition to hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease can result in vision changes, pregnancy complications, osteoporosis, and heart failure. Those who experience hyperthyroidism as a side-effect of Graves’ disease may also notice irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, goiter, and extreme weight loss.
Other side effects of Graves’ disease include blurred vision and a very specific dermatological condition called pretibial myxedema. This tends to affect the top of the feet and shins and is, fortunately, painless, in most cases.
Although healthcare providers are not 100% certain what causes Graves’ disease, this autoimmune disorder is likely triggered by a virus activating a specific sequence of genes. Diagnosis is made based on blood tests, a thyroid scan, Doppler blood flow measurements, and radioactive iodine uptake tests.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, there is no cure for Graves’ disease. However, she explains that hyperthyroidism may be treated with therapy and medication while vision complications, such as bulging eyes, may be reduced with eye drops. Serious cases of Graves’ disease may require ongoing steroid use.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Graves’ disease, talk to your primary health care provider about diet and lifestyle changes that can help you manage your symptoms.