Graves disease symptoms

Graves’ disease arises from the disorder of the immune system that results in an over-production in the thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Though hypothyroidism can arise from many disorders, but Graves’ disease is the most common cause.

Graves’ disease rarely threatens life; it occurs before the age of 40 and is more commonly seen in women.

Signs and symptoms

Excess thyroid hormone causes different body symptoms to arise. Due to this, there can be wide ranging signs and symptoms associated with Graves’ disease, which can significantly influence a person’s overall well-being.

Common signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • A fine tremor of fingers or hands
  • A irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Warm, moist skin or increase in perspiration
  • Weight loss
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Goiter (enlargement of thyroid gland)
  • Reduced libido or erectile dysfunction in men
  • Diarrhea (frequent bowel movements)
  • Change in menstrual cycles in women
  • Red, thick skin appearing usually on the tops or shins of the feet (Graves’ dermopathy)
  • Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)

Graves’ ophthalmopathy

This condition exists in almost half of the Graves’ disease patients. It results in inflammation affecting the muscles and other tissues around the eyes of the patient.

About half the people with Graves’ disease show some signs and symptoms of a condition known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy.

Due to Graves’ ophthalmopathy, additional signs and symptoms may arise, such as:

  • Bulging, tearing eyes
  • Irritated, dry, eyes
  • Pressure or pain in the eyes
  • Gritty sensation in the eyes
  • Reddened or inflamed eyes
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Reduced or blurred or vision (rare)
  • Restricted eye movements (fixed stare)
  • Ulcers on the cornea (rare)

Causes of Graves’ disease

Graves’ disease arises from a dysfunction in the body’s immune system.

A normal immune system reacts against a specific virus, bacterium or foreign substance with the production of antibodies. But in Graves’ disease, the body produces an antibody on the surface of cells in the thyroid gland (a hormone-producing gland located in the neck). This antibody called thyrotropin receptor antibody or TRAb interferes with the hormones generated by the pituitary gland that control the thyroid gland function, which results in an overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).

Treatment of Graves’ disease

1.   Radioactive iodine treatments (not for pregnant women).

2.   Surgery (subtotal thyroidectomy)

3.   Anti-thyroid, anti-inflammatory, and/or immunosuppressive medications


For eye problems (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)

Vision problems and eye protrusion are usually corrected with through radiation therapy and surgery.

Home Remedies for Graves’ ophthalmopathy

  • Use eye patches to cover eyes at night.
  • Sleep with head in elevated state, if eyes are swollen and red in the morning.
  • Moisten the eyes whenever dry (ask doctor for simple eye-drops).
  • Wear sunglasses to protect eyes from sunlight (or bright light) and wind.

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