There are many conditions that can affect the thyroid gland, commonly described as the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck. Graves’ disease is one of them. According to the Mayo Clinic, Graves’ disease is an immune disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). While there are many disorders that cause hyperthyroidism, Graves’ is one of the most common causes.
Graves’ disease can affect anyone, but it’s more common among women, particularly those under 40. This condition can cause a wide array of uncomfortable symptoms that can impact your overall wellbeing, but thankfully it’s also very treatable. To learn more about this disease, read up 13 things to know and how it affects patients…
1. What is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease as an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones, also known as an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) writes, “With this disease, your immune system attacks the thyroid and causes it to make more thyroid hormone than your body needs.”
The impact of the disease on patients can vary from case to case, as thyroid hormones affect a number of functions in the body from how the body uses energy to the way our heart beats. If left untreated hyperthyroidism can create a number of complications in the body including problems with the heart, bones, muscles, menstrual cycle, and even fertility problems, says NIH.