Graves ‘ disease is a disease of the thyroid characterized by the excess of hormones of this gland in the body, causing hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s antibodies end up attacking the thyroid, and changing its operation.
This disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism, and affects more women than men, mainly between 20 and 50 years, although it can arise at any age.
Graves ‘ disease has no treatment and can be well controlled, and the treatment option is prescribed by the physician, including the use of medications such as Propylthioracil and Methimazole, and therapy with radioactive iodine or surgery of the thyroid. Generally, they do not say that there is a cure of Graves ‘ disease, however, it is possible that the disease in remission, staying “dormant” for many years, or for life.
The main symptoms
The presenting symptoms in Graves ‘ disease depend on the severity and duration of the disease, and the age and sensitivity of the patient to the excess of hormones, players arise:
- Hyperactivity, nervousness and irritability;
- Excess heat and sweat;
- Heart palpitations;
- Weight loss even with increased appetite;
- Excess of urine;
- Irregular menstruation and loss of libido;
- Tremor, skin moist and hot;
- Goiter, which is the enlargement of the thyroid, causing swelling in the lower part of the throat;
- Muscle weakness;
- Gynecomastia, which is the growth of breasts in men;
- Changes in the eyes, such as protruding eyes, itching, lacrimejo and double vision;
- Lesions on the skin type plates pink located in regions of the body, also known as dermopatia of Serious or myxedema pre tibial.
In the elderly, the signs and symptoms may be more subtle and may manifest itself with excessive fatigue and weight loss, which can be confused with other diseases.
In spite of Graves ‘ disease being the main cause of hyperthyroidism, it is important to be aware of because the excess production of thyroid hormones can be caused by other problems, so here’s how to identify the symptoms of hipertireoisimo and the main causes.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of Graves ‘ disease is done through the assessment of the presenting symptoms, blood tests to measure the amount of thyroid hormones, such as TSH and T4, and examination of immunology, to see if there are antibodies in the blood against the thyroid.
In addition, the doctor may order tests such as scintigraphy of the thyroid, computed tomography or magnetic resonance, including to assess the functioning of other organs, such as eyes and the heart. Here’s how to prepare for the scintigraphy of the thyroid.
How is it treated
The treatment of Graves ‘ disease is indicated by the endocrinologist, oriented according to the clinical picture of each person. It can be done in 3 ways:
- The use of medications gland, such as Methimazole or Propylthioracil, that will decrease the production of thyroid hormones and antibodies attack this gland;
- Use of radioactive iodine, which causes destruction of thyroid cells, which ends up decreasing its production of hormones;
- Surgery, which removes part of the thyroid to decrease its production of hormones, being done only in patients with disease resistant to treatment with medicines.
Medicines that control the heart rate, such as Propranolol or Atenolol may be useful to control the palpitations, tremors and tachycardia.
In addition, patients with severe symptoms in the eyes may need to use eye drops and ointments to relieve discomfort and moisturize the eyes, being also necessary to stop smoking and use sunglasses with side protection.
Not usually speak of a cure of graves ‘ disease, but can occur spontaneous remission of the disease in some people, or after a few months or years of treatment, but there are always chances of the disease coming back.
Treatment in Pregnancy
During pregnancy, this disease should be treated with the minimum quantity of medicines and, if possible, discontinue the use of medicines in the last quarter, since the levels of antibodies tend to improve at the end of the pregnancy.
However, it is necessary to special attention to the disease during this phase of life because, when at high levels, thyroid hormones and drugs can cross the placenta and cause toxicity to the fetus.