Causes and Symptoms of Graves’ Disease
Thyroxin is a hormone produced by the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland located just below the larynx in the front of the neck. This hormone is essential in regulating many bodily functions, including metabolism, breathing, body temperature, weight, brain development, and much more. When the thyroid does not secrete enough thyroxin or when it is stimulated to release too much, these functions can become interrupted, resulting in changes in physical appearance, physiological function, and mood. Graves’ disease is a disorder that leads to the secretion of too much thyroid hormone, resulting in a condition called hyperthyroidism.
Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. It is caused by an autoimmune reaction to the body’s own thyroid cells. This response involves the production of an antibody by the immune system (called thyrotropin receptor antibody, or TRAb) that binds to a specific protein found on the surface of thyroid cells. TRAb mimics the action of the chemical that stimulates the release of thyroxin, causing the thyroid to overproduce this hormone.
Due to the fact that thyroxin influences many different physiological functions, the symptoms associated with Graves’ disease can be comprehensive and affect the entire body. The common symptoms associated with this disease can include:
- Heart palpitations or arrhythmias
- Restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and insomnia
- Weight loss with increased appetite
- Double vision, exophthalmos (eyeballs that protrude), eye irritation
- Heat intolerance and increased sweating
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Tremors and muscle weakness
Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center offers the community of Las Vegas comprehensive healthcare for patients suffering from Graves’ disease . If you would like to find an experienced physician that is knowledgeable in the diagnosis and treatment of this thyroid condition, contact us at (702) 233-5300 for a physician referral.