WHAT IS GRAVES DISEASE?
It ia an autoimmune condition of thyroid gand .
(autoimmune means our immune system mistakenly starts attacking our own body tissues).
It causes overproduction of thyroid hormones from thyroid gland more in amounts than the body needs(hyperthyroidism).
Hormones released by the thyroid gland help keep the body's metabolism running at the right rate. The more hormones it releases, the more quickly metabolism runs.Hence graves disease speeds up the metabolism of body.
- Age: commonly occurs below age of 40 years.
- Sex: more often seen in women than men.
- A person suffering from any other autoimmune condition(such as vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, crohn’s disease, diabetes type 1) are more likely to be affected.
- Cigarette smoking: It increases the risk many folds especially the eye symptoms.
- Genetic: A family history of Graves' disease increases the chance of developing the condition
Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to-
- Thyroid storm, a life-threatening condition caused by too much thyroid hormone that suddenly increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature to dangerously high levels.
- Heart problems, such as irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and heart failure.
- It can speed up bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis.
Bone loss after menopause raises a woman's risk for weak and fragile bones that fractures easily.
- Problems during pregnancy for mother as well as the baby.
In during pregnancy it can leads to heart failure, pre-eclampsia(high blood pressure during pregnancy), prematue birth of baby, miscarriage or abruptio placenta(early detachment of placenta from uterine wall).
In fetus or baby it can cause some serious conditions such as- low birth weight, fast heart rate, stillbirth, any birth defect, thyroid dysfunction etc.
- It may also cause emotional liability (such as uncontrollable crying or laughing), depression, and mental or physical weakness.
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
- Increased sweating
- Heat intolerance
- Weight loss (without change in diet)
- Hand tremors
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Erectile dysfunction and reduced libido
- Anxiety and irritability
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Graves' dermopathy(thick reddish skin on the shins) (rarely seen)
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland (called goiter)
- Heart failure
- Red eyes
- Bulging of eyes
- Swelling around eyes
- Difficulty in sleeping
The exact cause behind graves disease is not known yet.
Sometimes the immune system can be tricked into making antibodies that acts against our own cells. In many cases these antibodies can cause destruction of those cells. In Graves’ disease these antibodies (called TRAb or TSI) do the opposite – they make the cells do extra work . The antibodies in Graves’ disease stimulate these cells to produce extra thyroid hormones. This results in an overactive thyroid.
Any viral/bacterial infection, stress or giving birth can also act as a triggering factor.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Diagnosis is based on symptoms and family history. Some tests that can be useful are:
- blood tests for T3, T4 and TSH: high levels of T3 and T4 hormones and a very low level of TSH are indications of Graves' disease.
- thyroid scan
- radioactive iodine uptake test: patient consumes a small quantity of radioactive iodine by liquid or capsule. Once swallowed, the iodine collects in the thyroid.
- thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) test: TSI is a type of antibody measured from the blood sample. It binds to various tissues in body and causes swelling.
- Testing TPO levels: TPO measures the level of thyroid peroxidase antibodies. If you have those antibodies in your blood, it suggests that the immune system has attacked the thyroid.
Under conventional treatment, the three treatment options available for people with Graves’ disease are anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy or thyroid surgery.
- Exercise: Brittle bones also can occur with Graves' disease, and weight-bearing exercises can help maintain bone density.
- Wear compression socks in cases of dermatopathy.
- Wear sunglasses as protruded eyes has tendency to absorb more UV rays when exposed to sunlight.
Try to avoid/ limit intake of -
- Iodised salt: he thyroid takes up iodine easily, eating too much can make hyperthyroid symptoms worse.
- Caffeine: Foods that contain caffeine—coffee, soda, tea, and chocolate—can aggravate Graves’ disease symptoms, such as anxiety, nervousness, rapid heart rate, and weight loss.
- Food allergens: If you have a food allergy—even if it’s a mild food allergy—you may want to avoid that food to lessen any adverse effects.
- Stress and smoking: As it can trigger or elevate the symptoms of graves disease.
Homeopathic constitutional treatment for Grave’s disease works by acting on the immune system. It also helps with the symptomatic management of the disease. Medicines in Grave’s disease reduces the intensity and frequency of the symptoms and eventually treat the disorder without any side effects.
Some homeopathic medicines commonly used to treat Grave’s disease are Iodum, Spongia Tosta, Bromium, Natrum Mur and Kali Iodatum.
DO’S AND DON’TS
- Do exercise regularly.
- Wear compression socks.
- Wear sunglasses when exposed to sunrays.
- Take healthy nutritious diet with plenty of fluids.
Try to avoid/ limit intake of -
- Iodised salt
- Food allergens
- Stress and smoking