Grave’s disease is an autoimmune diseasecharacterized by overactive thyroid gland. In Grave’s disease, thyroid hormonesare being produced in excessive amount, as a response to autoimmune reaction.The overproduction of the hormones is caused by autoantibodies to theTSH-receptor that activates TSH-receptor. The resulting hyperthyroidism manifestsas a series of neuropsychological and physical symptoms, affecting every levelof patient’s life.
Causes and epidemiology
This disease is the most common cause ofhyperthyroidism in children and adolescents, and the leading cause of severehyperthyroidism. Grave’s disease is more common in women and usuallybegins after age 20. The exact cause of Grave’s disease is yet unknown,but researchers believe that certain factors such as family history, stress andsmoking, may determine one’s likelihood of developing the disease. It
In Grave’s disease, the immune system mistakenlyattacks the thyroid gland stimulating the thyroid to make excessive amounts ofthyroid hormone. Thyroxin, a hormone produced by the thyroid, affects numerousbody systems and, if excessive, causes many health problems.
It is estimated that 25-30% of people with Grave’sdisease also suffer from Grave’s ophthalmopathy, a protrusion of the eyescaused by inflammation of the eye muscles. A small number of patients withGrave’s disease may also develop Grave’s dermopathy, which is a skin conditionthat results from a buildup of certain carbohydrates in the skin.
Symptoms of Grave’s disease
Grave’s disease is characterized by numeroussymptoms such as: anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping, fatigue,irregular heartbeat, tremor of the hands or fingers, increase in perspiration,sensitivity to heat, unexplained weight loss, brittle hair, enlargement of thethyroid gland, irregularities in menstrual cycle, and frequent bowel movements.
Symptoms of Grave’s ophthalmopathy
Grave’s ophthalmology is caused by swelling of thetissues and muscles behind the eyes, which causes the eyeballs to bulge out andto be pushed forward. The eyes may feel very dry and the other symptoms includeexcessive tearing and feeling of grit or sand in either or both eyes, rednessand inflammation of the eyes, widening of the space between the eyelids,swelling of the lids and tissues around the eyes, hypersensitivity to light,double vision, limited eye movements, and blurred or reduced vision.
Symptoms of Grave’s dermopathy
Grave’s dermopathy is a rare skin conditioncharacterized by red, swollen skin, usually on the shins and tops of the feet.Texture of the skin is usually described as similar to an orange peel.Treatment of Grave’s dermopathy involves treatment of underlying Grave’sdisease and topical application of cortisone creams.