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Graves' Disease

Descriptive
Graves' Disease

A very common condition affecting three million people or more in the United States every year, Graves' Disease can be a problem that affects you in your every day life. The symptoms can seem innocuous at first, but can lead to more trouble down the road. Are you experiencing this? Do you have Graves' Disease?

What is Graves' Disease?

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Graves' Disease is caused by an immune disorder. This disorder happens to affect your thyroid, which is a butterfly-shaped gland found in the throat. It comes with a host of symptoms, from anxiety to puffy eyes. It's also a very common problem, affecting a great deal of people. Thankfully, it is treatable. Your doctor should be told if you suspect it.

Causes of Graves' Disease

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The thyroid, which is butterfly-shaped and found in your throat, produces hormones to keep your body running smoothly. However, with Graves' Disease, your immune system will target your thyroid, forcing it to overproduce hormones.

This is what leads to the symptoms that you might be experiencing. It can also cause your thyroid to swell, which is something that you should see a physician about.

Who Is Most Likely to Have It?

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The most common group to have Graves' Disease are women below the age of forty. However, women of all ages are vulnerable to this disease. The second most common group is women over the age of forty. Men can contract this problem, too, though it is a good deal rarer than a woman contracting the disorder.

Getting Graves' Disease Diagnosed

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To get Graves' Disease diagnosed, you have to see your health care provider. Most likely, they will run blood tests to check your hormone levels; they may run multiple ones, to be certain. Your doctor may also feel your neck, to see if your thyroid is swollen. He or she will also take stock of the symptoms that you have.

Symptoms of Graves Disease

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The symptoms of Graves' Disease vary greatly. Common symptoms can include anxiety, hand tremor, weight loss, puffy eyes, heat sensitivity, and an enlarged thyroid.

However, there are other symptoms, as well. You may experience fatigue, excess sweating, a stop in your menstrual cycle, hair loss, insomnia, irritability, nervousness, diarrhea. Your doctor should be made aware of these symptoms.

Getting Proper Treatment

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Except in very rare cases, Graves' Disease is normally treated through medications. These are normally antithyroid agents, to stop your thyroid from producing the hormones that cause the disease.

Beta blockers may  also be used to keep high blood pressure, a symptom, under control. In rare cases, complete removal of the thyroid may be necessary.

Can It Be Cured?

As of now, there is no real cure for Graves' Disease. However, with proper medication and treatment, it can be regulated and controlled to the point of it disappearing almost entirely. For some rare cases, surgery is advisable. This will result in the removal of the thyroid which can, in essence, “cure” you. However, some women have exhibited symptoms afterwards, so the term “cure” might not be the best to use.

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A very common problem, Graves' Disease can cause a lot of unpleasant, seemingly unrelated symptoms. However, with the proper treatment, you can be back to your old self in no time at all.

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