Graves disease affects the immune system and as a result, it forces the thyroid to become over active.
Means that, your body’s immune system becomes against your body, then it creates thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSIs) to force your thyroid to produce more hormones.
Thyroid makes more hormones because the TSH is forcing it to produce more T3 and T4 hormones than the average level that our body needs.
Hyperthyroidism is a result of thyroid overactive.
I’m going to describe it in more detail in this article.
What Causes Graves Disease?
There are various factors that are causing graves’ disease such as…
- Immune system malfunction (autoimmune disease)
When your immune system turns against your body, it tricks the thyroid glands to produce more thyroid stimulating hormone.
Although, no certain answer about what causes the immune system disorders, the researchers are working on the logical reason behind that disease.
The autoimmune disease is when the immune system produce antibodies that attacks your body’s tissues.
Usually for healthy people, the immune system should be defending your body against infections and bacteria.
Here is the list of some autoimmune disease:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (Immune system attacks the joints)
- Systemic lupus (attacks the tissues of all body)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) attacks intestines
- Type one Diabetes
- Guillain-Barre syndrome (attacks the nerves that controlling muscles)
- Graves Disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Genetic Rule in Graves Disease
The genetic has a big rule in getting such a disease.
People with a family history of graves disease have a higher chance of catching this disease.
Their immune system and the level of TSH hormones has to be check more often to be catch earlier.
If the TSH level is low, that should raise a flag, and the doctor should do more tests in order to make sure with the diagnose.
Graves Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of graves disease are various, but sometimes it is difficult to be diagnose.
Thyroid hormones are affecting the entire body such as;
- Body temperature
- Hearth rhythm
- Bones Growing
- Respiratory rate
It is better to talk to your doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- Mood swing
- Bone loss
- Muscle wasting
- Hand shivering
- Hair loss or fine hair
- Irregular hearth bit
- Menstrual period regulation
- Weight loss
- Being impatient
- High blood pressure
- Shortness of breathing
- bulging eyes
- Visible goiter
When you see the symptoms above you should as your doctor to send you for some tests to check your thyroid hormones.
Diagnose of Graves Disease
First step is that, your doctor should know about your health problems, family history of any immunity system disorders and if you are taking any medications.
In general your health history in more detail.
Secondly, if you are taking any medications that might affect the test results.
It’s because some medications can change the result of the thyroid blood test and the doctor might misdiagnose the patient.
Blood Tests to Diagnose the Graves’ Disease
1 – It is to check the hormones levels.
The thyroid stimulating hormone(TSH), Triiodothyronine (T3), and Thyroxine (T4).
“T3 and T4 are the main hormones that TSH produces.”
The pituitary gland or “master gland” which controls the hormones such as TSH,Â then TSH tells your thyroid to produce T3 and T4.
2 – The additional blood test…
In order to diagnose graves disease is to check the antibody-levels.
The TSH levels should be check since it is very important in case of diagnose about the graves disease.
If the TSH is very low, that means the master gland is trying to take care of the overmuch T3 and T4 hormones and will try to stop producing
TSH in order to stop the production of thyroid hormones.
Moreover, If the graves’ disease exists the T3 and T4 levels are showing very high.
It’s Because TSI (Thyroid Stimulating Immunolobulins) is tricking the thyroid to produce too much T3 and T4.
However, by just doing a free T4 level is a better recommendation because
T4 is less affeced by proteins in your blood.
3 – TSI Levels
If the doctor has difficulty diagnose the graves disease, he/she will
check the TSI (Thyroid simulating immunoglobulin) levels.
TSI is an antibody which can cause the bulging eyes(exophthalmos) and/or
Skin problem on the lower legs (pretibial myxedema).
4 – TPO Levels
Because Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder, the doctor may ask for TPO (Thyroid peroxidase antibodies) level as well.
However, TPO level can be high in some healthy people which doesn’t mean
you do have the graves disease because they might be high because of other issues.
5 -Scan and Radiactive Iodine Uptake (RAIU)
That test will show how many percentage of your thyroid is affected and it’s overactive.
The procedure of RAIU is to take an iodine Pill called radioactive tracer which should be taken about 4 to 6 hours before the scan, followed by another scan within 24 hours.
Then the diagnostic is when the amount of radioactive tracer absorbed by your thyroid is in the normal level or not.
If the amount of absorption is high that means you have a graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism.
CT scan, Ultrasound and MRI might be done in order to make sure about the diagnose of grave’s disease.
Treatments for Graves Disease
The treatments for graves disease is done depending on the severity of the graves disease.
- Medication treatments: The oral medication treatments are usually the first step the doctor takes to see if it’s effective on treating the graves disease patient.
- Methimazole : Blocks thyroid hormones and is safe in pregnancy
Side effects: It can cause infection and the doctor should send the patient for blood test to check the wbc level every few weeks.
- Cost effective
- Best for long term or permanent cure
- Surgery or Thyroidectomy:
- They will be done because of large goiter: causing difficulty breathing, especially when pressing the trachea or in cancer patients
Side effects of thyroidectomy: damages recurrent laryngeal nerves and Hypoparathyroidism
Pregnancy and Graves disease
Usually when a pregnant woman diagnose with the graves’ disease, the doctor starts the treatments carefully and adjusts the medication in order to not harm the baby.
Graves ophthalmophathy (Eyes bulging) treatments :
For eyes bulging treatments, in mild cases they can use eye drops lubricant or anti-inflammatory eye drops.
In severe cases such as corneal exposure or optic nerves compression can be treated with steroids or orbital decompression.
Diets for Graves’ Disease Patients
Apparently there is no diet to treat graves disease but certain foods can ease it such as antioxidants, dairy products, vegetable, vitamin D, vitamin C and Omega 3.
However, anything that can improve in your immune system can be helpful but it can’t treat the disease.
Moreover, if you feel some mood swings, fatigues and eyes are getting bulging you should go to see your doctor for consultation and some tests to check your hormones levels.