February 27, 2017
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Hyperthyroidism (cont.)

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What causes hyperthyroidism?

Some common causes of hyperthyroidism include:

What is graves' disease?

Graves' disease, which is caused by a generalized overactivity of the thyroid gland, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the thyroid gland usually is renegade, which means it has lost the ability to respond to the normal control by the pituitary gland via TSH. Graves' disease is hereditary and is up to five times more common among women than men.

Graves' disease is thought to be an autoimmune disease, and antibodies that are characteristic of the illness may be found in the blood. These antibodies include thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI antibodies), thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO), and TSH receptor antibodies.

What are the symptoms of Graves' disease?

In addition to the symptoms of hyperthyroidism mentioned above, Grave's disease may be associated with eye disease (Graves' ophthalmopathy) and skin lesions (dermopathy). Ophthalmopathy can occur before, after, or at the same time as the hyperthyroidism. Early on, it may cause sensitivity to light and a feeling of "sand in the eyes." The eyes may be reddened and produce excess tears. Swelling behind the eyeballs causes the eyes to protrude, and double vision can occur. The degree of ophthalmopathy is worsened in those who smoke.

The course of the eye disease is often independent of the thyroid disease, and steroid medications may be necessary to control the inflammation that causes the ophthalmopathy. In addition, surgical intervention may be required. The skin condition (dermopathy) is rare and causes a painless, red, lumpy skin rash on the front of the legs.

What are the triggers for Graves' disease?

The triggers for Graves' disease include:

Graves' disease can be diagnosed by a standard, nuclear medicine thyroid scan which shows diffusely increased uptake of a radioactively-labelled iodine. In addition, a blood test may reveal elevated TSI levels.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/1/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/hyperthyroidism/article.htm

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