Graves’ Disease Symptoms
What is Graves’ disease?
Graves’ disease or Basedow-Graves disease is an autoimmune disease which mostly affects the thyroid. It causes the thyroid to enlarge to the size double or more. The thyroid is a small gland located in front of your neck. It works to make T3 and T4 hormones which regulate how body uses energy. Pituitary gland which is a pea sized gland situated in our brain controls our thyroid hormones. It also makes thyroid stimulating hormone and the thyroid gets triggered by the same to make thyroid hormone.
In Graves ’ disease, our thyroid makes more thyroid hormones than our body requires. You can recognize it by some of the following symptoms:
This is the most common symptom of Graves’ disease which included enlargement of the thyroid. In this condition the neck gets visibly larger. Symptoms like feeling of fullness in the throat or neck, feeling of vibration in thyroid, irritation while using ties or scarves, hoarseness, feeling of pain in throat or a choking sensation may take place.
• Problem in Pregnancy
If you are facing difficulties in your pregnancy like weight loss or excessive nausea with excess vomiting, then these may be the signs of thyroid problems or Graves’ disease. Even after pregnancy you can notice rapid weight loss in the patients.
• Change in Weight
In the patients of Graves’ disease you can notice reduction in weight without any modification in diet or exercise. Such patients usually experience drastically increased appetite for carbohydrates without having put on any weight. Some people stop eating and lose so much of weight, that they can be misdiagnosed as anorexic. This happens more in the girls especially teenagers which are misdiagnosed as anorexic due to rapid and dramatic weight loss while the actual cause is Graves’ disease. In a few cases, there have been some people who have gained some weight in this disease because they increased their intake so much that the increased metabolism did not compensate.
• Muscles & Joints
Graves’ disease also includes extreme tiredness especially in muscles and joints of legs and arms. The patient may feel difficulty in climbing up the stairs or tolerating pressure of exercise. These patients feel as if they need some sleep and also need some exercise to get some energy.
• Temperature problems
Patients of Graves’ disease may feel their temperature to be high. They are usually found hot or warm when other people are cold. Other symptoms include feeling of thirst, excess sweat and continuous presence of low grade fever.
• Change in Heart and Blood Pressure
Signs like racing, fast heartbeat, skipped beats, sensation of loud heartbeat, abnormal heart rate and rhythms and palpitations are also witnessed in the patients of Graves’ disease.
• Gastrointestinal Problems
Problems related to intestine are also seen in Graves’ disease. You can have frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, loose bowel movements, and increased frequency of urination or nausea. Other gastric problems are also common in this condition.
• Eye changes
Although this is a rare sign, but can not be ignored. The tissue behind the eyes gets inflamed and swelled up which causes irritation or feeling of bulging in one or both the eyes. Even the vision can be affected at times. This symptom can occur at any time, before after or during the occurrence of Graves’ disease. This is more common in people who smoke and smoking makes this symptom worse. It often gets better with out any treatment.
Note: The above mentioned symtoms can occur gradually over period or suddenly. These are also generally confused with other health issues. Some people with Graves’ disease do not have any symptom at all.