Though the name sounds scary, this condition is manageable with treatment.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body makes the thyroid gland grow too large and produce too much thyroid hormone. This condition falls under the category of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid.
Graves’ disease is named after Dr. Robert Graves, who discovered the condition in the 1800s. More women than men develop Graves’ disease, and it typically develops before age 40. Smoking and high levels of stress also may trigger the onset of Graves’ disease.
Symptoms of Graves’ disease
Graves’ disease can cause bulging eyes in some patients. This symptom is known as Grave’s ophthalmopathy, and it affects about 30 percent of Graves’ disease patients.
Other symptoms you may experience are the same that occur with many types of hyperthyroidism:
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Heat intolerance
- Heart palpitations
- Reduced sex drive
- Trouble sleeping
- Unplanned weight loss
Rarely, Graves’ disease can cause thickening and redness on the skin of your feet and shins. This condition is called Graves’ dermopathy.
Graves’ disease treatment options
Graves’ disease treatments are similar to treatments for other hyperthyroid conditions. Common treatments include medicine, radioactive iodine, and thyroid surgery. You may be eligible for minimally invasive thyroid surgery, which is done with fewer incisions and offers faster recovery. Meet our surgery team.