Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder when your immune system attacks the thyroid gland which leads to overproduction of the hormone thyroxine (hyperthyroidism). Graves' disease may affect people of any age but it is more frequent in females who are over 20.
The symptoms of Graves' disease may includes anxiety, fatigue, sleeping disorders, irritability, irregular pulse, tremor of the hands or fingers, unexpected weigh loss, sensitivity to heat, sensitivity to light, sweating, fragile hair, irregular menstrual cycle, frequent bowel movements, goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), shortness of breath, double vision, irritation of the eyes, limited eye movement, bulged out eyeballs, breast enlargement in men and difficulties to concentrate.
In order to diagnose the condition, your doctor will perform a physical exam, blood test or radioactive iodine test. During the physical exam your doctor will check if the thyroid gland is enlarged and if there are problems with your eyes. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and if there are any other symptoms which would indicate Graves' disease. Blood test is performed in order to establish the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone and thyroxine. Radioactive iodine test is performed to determine the production of thyroxine. The doctor will give you a small dose of radioactive iodine and afterwards he/she will check the uptake of iodine. Since iodine is necessary for production of thyroxine, excessive uptake will indicate Graves' disease.