Graves' Disease

What is Graves’ Disease?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It produces thyroid hormone, which controls our bodies’ overall metabolism.

In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland is producing too much hormone. This excess of thyroid hormone causes the metabolism to be overactive. Patients with hyperthyroidism can experience a number of symptoms, including a racing heart, tremors, feeling anxious, weight loss, feeling hot all the time and difficulty sleeping. A simple blood test can diagnose hyperthyroidism.

In Graves’ disease the body causes the whole thyroid gland to become overactive. In addition to the thyroid gland, the eyes can be affected. The eyes can start to bulge, become dry and itchy and vision can become blurry.

Treatment for Graves’ disease includes medications, radioactive iodine or thyroid surgery. Therapy depends on the response of the patient to treatment, the presence of eye symptoms and the preferences of the patient.

In hyperthyroidism, too much thyroid hormone causes the body’s metabolism to become overactive.

© 2017  American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery

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