What is Graves’ disease
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune thyroid disease which causes the thyroid gland to produce excessive hormones. Symptoms may include nervousness, weight loss, heart palpitations and intolerance to heat. Women are affected seven times more often than men and are predominantly diagnosed between 20-40 years of age. A distinguishing characteristic of Graves’ is an eye condition causing inflamed eye muscles with accompanying bulging of the eyes (exophthalmos). Approximately 30-50% of Graves’ patients develop this condition in its mild form and about 5% develop the severe form. Although rare, “thyroid storm” can occur. Symptoms of this thyroid crisis include fever, vomiting, elevated heart rate, confusion and profuse sweating and requires immediate emergency attention.
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