Graves' disease is a thyroid disease characterized by the excess hormones of this gland in the body, causing hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body's antibodies end up attacking the thyroid and altering its functioning.
This disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism, affecting more women than men, especially in the 20s and 50s, although it can occur at any age.
Graves' disease has treatment and can be well controlled, and the option of treatment is indicated by the doctor, including the use of medications such as Propylthiouracil and Methimazole, radioactive iodine therapies or thyroid surgery. It is not usually said that there is a cure for Graves' disease, however, it is possible that the disease goes into remission, becoming "asleep" for many years or for life.
The symptoms presented in Graves' disease depend on the severity and duration of the disease, and the patient's age and sensitivity to excess hormones, usually arising:
- Hyperactivity, nervousness and irritability;
- Excess heat and sweat;
- Heart palpitations;
- Weight loss, even with increased appetite;
- Excess of urine;
- Irregular menstruation and loss of libido;
- Tremor, with damp and warm skin;
- Goiter, which is thyroid enlargement, causing swelling in the lower part of the throat;
- Muscle weakness;
- Gynecomastia, which is the growth of breasts in men;
- Changes in eyes such as protruding eyes, itching, watery eyes, and double vision;
- Skin lesions are pink plaques located in regions of the body, also known as Graves' dermopathy or pre-tibial myxedema.
In the elderly, the signs and symptoms may be more subtle, and may manifest with excessive tiredness and weight loss, which may be confused with other diseases.
Although Graves' disease is the major cause of hyperthyroidism, it is important to be aware that excess production of thyroid hormones can be caused by other problems, so see how to identify the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and the major causes.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of Graves' disease is done by evaluating the symptoms presented, blood tests to measure the amount of thyroid hormones such as TSH and T4, and immunology tests to see if there are any antibodies in the blood against the thyroid.
In addition, the doctor may order tests such as thyroid scintigraphy, CT or MRI, including to evaluate the functioning of other organs such as eyes and heart. Here's how to prepare for thyroid scintigraphy.
How is the treatment done?
The treatment of Graves' disease is indicated by the endocrinologist, oriented according to the clinical picture of each person. It can be done in 3 ways:
- Use of antithyroid drugs, such as Methimazole or Propylthiouracil, which will decrease the production of thyroid hormones and antibodies that attack this gland;
- Use of radioactive iodine, which causes destruction of thyroid cells, which ultimately decreases their production of hormones;
- Surgery, which removes part of the thyroid to decrease its production of hormones, being made only in patients with disease resistant to treatment with medicines.
Medications that control heartbeat such as Propranolol or Atenolol may be helpful in controlling palpitations, tremors and tachycardia.
In addition, patients with severe eye symptoms may need to use eye drops and ointments to relieve discomfort and moisturize their eyes, as well as quit smoking and wear side-shielded sunglasses.
Here's how power can help with the following video:It is not usually talked about cure of the disease of serious, but it can occur spontaneous remission of the illness in some people or after some months or years of treatment, but always there are chances of the disease to return.
During pregnancy, this disease should be treated with the lowest doses of medication and, if possible, discontinue the use of medicines in the last trimester, since antibody levels tend to improve at the end of gestation.
However, special attention must be paid to the disease during this stage of life because, when at high levels, thyroid hormones and medications can cross the placenta and cause toxicity to the fetus.