Graves disease: an autoimmune disorder of The thyroid gland
Graves disease-an autoimmune disorder of thyroid gland
Graves disease is a disorder of thyroid gland that leads to increased activity of thyroid gland.It is an autoimmune disorder in which thyroid hormone produces too much of thyroid hormones (thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine T4 and T3).The pathophysiology behind graves’ disease can be explained as follows.
The thyroid gland secretes its hormones when it is stimulated by the TSH(Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)released by the pituitary gland.In graves disease certain thyroid autoantibodies continuosly stimulate the TSH receptors which in turn causes the thyroid gland to secrete its hormones.
Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.It most commonly effects women over age of 20 years but can occur in men also.
The signs and symptoms of graves’ disease are all direct or indirect effect of hyperthyroidism.These symptoms include anxiety,insomnia,hand tremors,hair loss,excessive sweating,heat intolerance,increased appetite,weight loss,diarrhea,frequent defecation,shortness of breath,increased heart rate,palpitations,muscle weakness and skin being cold and calmy all the time.The other symptoms include goitre,Graves ophthalmology and myxedema.These symptoms are caused by autoimmune process of graves disease.The sign and symptoms visible on physical examination include enlarged non-tender goiter.lid lag,lacrimation,arrhythmias and hypertension.Menstrual irregularities in females and breast enlargement in males is also seen in some cases.
To confirm the diagnosis laboratory tests include blood tests to measure levels of TSH,T4 and T3.These are raised above the normal level.The radioactive iodine uptake test is also performed.
The purpose of treatment of graves disease is to control the hyperactivity of thyroid gland.
The medications include beta blockers such as propranalol to control the heart rate,anxiety and sweating.
Hyperthyroidism is treated with medicines like antihyroid drugs and radioactive iodine.
If the disease persists then the only option left is surgery in which whole of the thyroid gland is removed this is called as thyroidectomy.In case of surgical removal,the patient needs thyroid hormones replacement for the rest of the life.