Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Grave's Disease Overview

What is Grave's disease?
A person with Grave's disease has a swollen thyroid gland, called a goiter. Grave's disease causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones increase the activity of cells in the body, which in turn, increases mental and physical energy levels. The over-production of thyroid hormones is called hyperthyroidism. Grave's disease is one of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism. Grave's disease is an autoimmune disease. For some reason, the immune system mistakenly stimulates the thyroid gland, causing it to swell and produce high levels of thyroid hormones.

What are the symptoms of Grave's disease?
Symptoms of Grave's disease include absent menstrual periods, anxiety, nervousness, diarrhea, fatigue, heat intolerance, excessive sweating, palpitations, muscle cramps, rapid speech, rapid pulse, weight loss, and neck swelling.

How does the doctor treat Grave's disease?
The treatment for Grave's disease includes medications to control hyperthyroidism, beta-blockers, and surgery. With treatment, most people with Grave's disease live normal lives.

Continue to Grave's Disease Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Grave's Disease References
  1. Abraham P, Avenell A, Watson WA, Park CM, Bevan JS. Antithyroid drug regimen for treating Graves' hyperthyroidism. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Apr 18;(2):CD003420. [15846664]
  2. Holm IA, Manson JE, Michels KB, Alexander EK, Willett WC, Utiger RD. Smoking and other lifestyle factors and the risk of Graves' hyperthyroidism. Arch Intern Med. 2005 Jul 25;165(14):1606-11. [16043678]
  3. McKeown NJ, Tews MC, Gossain VV, Shah SM. Hyperthyroidism. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2005 Aug;23(3):669-85, viii. [15982540]
  4. Weetman AP. Grave's disease 1835-2002. Horm Res. 2003;59 Suppl 1:114-8. [12638522]
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