Graves Disease Symptoms: Treatments

It is estimated that over twelve percent of the population will at some point suffer from a thyroid condition. Currently twenty million individuals living, within the United States are suffering from some type of thyroid disease. The percentages are not broken down to only Grave’s disease an autoimmune disorder, so it is unknown how many are truly suffering from this condition. Thirty percent of females with Grave’s disease have had their condition linked to pregnancy. Pregnancy is highly known for interring with hormone production, especially the thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

 

Thyroid

 

The thyroid (endocrine gland) weighs around twenty-five grams and is shaped like a butterfly. Its location, front of the neck below the Adam’s apple, makes it difficult to palpate (feel), when it is normal size.

It contains two side lobes, with the right lobe being slightly larger in size

Isthmus connects the two lobes

The superior, inferior, and thyroid ima arteries supply blood to the thyroid, while

The superior, middle, and inferior veins drain the thyroid

 

Functions

 

Thyroid utilizes iodine (found in table salt and bread) to make hormones (T3, T4)

These hormones are regulated by the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland.

The adrenal medulla produces adrenaline (hormone), which can affect the thyroid if there is an adrenal insufficiency (low quantity). Hydrocortisone (natural adrenal hormone) is normally prescribed to correct the insufficiency. Insufficient thyroid hormone and insufficient adrenal hormone must both be corrected. If hormone replacement drugs are taken by someone with a thyroid insufficiency, without correction of the adrenal hormone insufficiency, the person may respond negatively. The low adrenal may be a hidden, coexistent problem that needs to be approached by physicians, when focusing on the thyroid condition.

Thyroid controls metabolism (chemical and physical processes that convert and utilizes energy to maintain the living state of human cells)

T3 is responsible for regulating the catecholamine (dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline) levels. These are produced in the adrenal glands and when they become lower than normal, one may experience mood changes and energy depletion.

 

Etiology

 

Grave’s disease (toxic diffuse goiter) is often caused by hyperthyroidism. The immune system abnormally attacks the body’s own cells and organs. In Grave’s disease the immune system produces thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (antibodies), which causes hyperthyroidism (over production of hormones). The TSI fools the thyroid into producing too much hormone, by mimicking the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

 

Symptoms

 

Anxiousness

Fatigue

Insomnia

Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and tachycardia (increased pulse)

Diarrhea

Unexplained weight loss

Toxic nodular goiter (enlarged thyroid gland, which is characterized by nodules or small rounded growths)

Pretibial myxedema (skin located on the shins becomes thickened and reddened)

Graves ophthalmophathy (bulging eyes), which can cause dry, gritty eyes and eye pressure

Hand tremors

 

Diagnosis

 

TSH blood serum

Radioactive iodine uptake

Thyroid Ultrasound

Magnetic resonance imaging of the thyroid

Computed tomography of the thyroid

 

Treatment

 

Anti-thyroid Medications (Methimazole)

Radioactive Iodine therapy (I-131 is administered to destroy the thyroid gland and thyroid cells, without effecting the rest on the body). This treatment is often used in patients that have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid, partial or total), which is only used in severe cases or in individuals that cannot tolerate anti-thyroid medications or RAI