Graves' Disease Essay

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Graves’ disease was named after Robert J. Graves, MD, around the 1830’s. It is an autoimmune disease indicated by hyperthyroidism due to circulating autoantibodies, which is an antibody that attacks the person’s own body. The immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which causes it to produce too much thyroxine. Thyroxine is a hormone that helps control growth and also regulates metabolism in the body. While the thyroxine levels are high the patient’s metabolic rate increases, which can have an effect on their physical appearance as well as their frame of mind. Graves’ disease is the number one cause of hyperthyroidism in the U.S. There are many signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease. Symptoms of Graves’ disease include anxiety,…show more content…
Experts aren’t sure the exact cause of Graves’ disease because it is an autoimmune disease. There are certain risk factors associated with Graves’ disease which include genetics, gender, age, pregnancy, mental stress, and smoking. People who have family history of this disease are more likely to develop it. Also females are more likely than males to acquire Graves’ disease and onset of the disease usually occurs after the age of 20. Anatomy affected by this disease is the thyroid gland which is part of the endocrine system. It is located at the back of the neck, below the Adam’s apple. This disease doesn’t destroy the thyroid gland, instead an antibody called thyrotropin receptor antibody makes the thyroid produce large amounts of hormone. The thyroid produces two hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones affect many body systems and play a key role in regulating the body’s metabolic rate. Excessive secretion of these hormones is what causes the signs and symptoms that have already been described. Graves’ disease is diagnosed by performing a physical examination, a blood test, and determining radioactive iodine uptake. In the physical exam the doctor will inspect the eyes to see whether they are irritated or bulging. The thyroid is checked to ascertain if it is enlarged. The physician will check the hands and fingers for signs of trembling and ask questions about their symptoms. A blood test is given to see what the levels of
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