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Graves' Disease

An autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormone. This causes such symptoms as nervousness, heat intolerance, heart palpitations, and unexplained weight loss. NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

About Graves' Disease

Graves' disease, also known as toxic diffuse goiter, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. Hyperthyroidism is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than the body needs.

The Thyroid

The thyroid is a 2-inch-long, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck below the larynx, or voice box. The thyroid makes two thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3 ) and thyroxine (T4 ). T3 is made from T4 and is the more active hormone, directly affecting the tissues. Thyroid hormones circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream and act on virtually every tissue and cell in the body....Read more about Graves' Disease NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Radioiodine therapy (RAI) for Graves' disease (GD) and the effect on ophthalmopathy: a systematic review

The authors concluded that radioiodine therapy for Graves' disease increased the risk of ophthalmopathy compared with antithyroid drugs. Prednisolone prophylaxis was beneficial for patients with pre-existing ophthalmopathy. This review was generally well conducted. However, a degree of caution might be required in interpreting these conclusions, given the limited amount of data available for each comparison in the review.

The association of SCGB3A2 polymorphisms with the risk of Graves' disease: a meta-analysis

The aim of this study is to assess the association of the SCGB3A2 -112G>A promoter polymorphism with Graves' disease(GD) using a meta-analysis. Relevant studies were identified using PubMed and EMBASE electronic databases. A meta-analysis of relevant studies was performed. This meta-analysis included four case-control studies, containing 6,913 GD cases (Caucasian 3904, Han 3009) and 7,185 controls(Caucasian 4155, Han 3030). The combined results showed a significant difference in genotype distribution (-112A/G) between GD and control populations (A vs. G P = 1.53 × 10(-7); GG vs. AA+AG P = 6.78 × 10(-9)). Meta-analysis was performed using a fixed-effects model. Under the dominant model (GG/AA + GA), the AA and GA genotypes were significantly associated with GD (pooled OR = 1.24, 95 % CI 1.12-1.37). When the two European studies are combined, the AA and GA genotypes were also significantly associated with GD (pooled OR = 1.29, 95 % CI 1.20-1.39). This meta-analysis suggests that SCGB3A2 polymorphism at positions -112G>A was associated with GD both in Chinese and Caucasian population.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of total thyroidectomy versus bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy for Graves' disease

BACKGROUND: Our aim was to perform a meta-analysis of high-quality published trials, randomized and observational, comparing total thyroidectomy (TT) and bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy (ST) for Graves' disease.

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Summaries for consumers

Research studies: Graves' disease: Is it better to start off with lower-dose therapy?

If lower doses of drugs for Graves' disease are used at the start of treatment, side effects are less common too.

Radioiodine treatment for pediatric Graves' disease

Graves' disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism in children and adolescents which excessive amounts of thyroid hormones circulating in the blood. Affected children and adolescents suffer from increased heart beats, warm moist skin, fatigue, weight loss, raised body temperature, eye and other problems. Application of radioactive iodine (radioiodine), surgical removal of the thyroid gland or drugs that interfere with the production of thyroid hormones (antithyroid drugs) are used to treat this disease.

How does the thyroid work?

The thyroid is a vitally important hormonal gland that regulates metabolism and growth in the body. The thyroid hormones T3 and T4 increase the basal metabolic rate. In other words, they make the body cells work harder, using more energy. If more energy is needed for metabolic processes in the body – for instance for growth, when it is cold, or during pregnancy – more hormones are produced and transported into the blood.

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Terms to know

Autoimmune Disease
Disease that results when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. Examples include multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. The resulting bulge on the neck may become extremely large, but most simple goiters are brought under control before this happens. Occasionally a simple goiter may cause some difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
Too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms include weight loss, chest pain, cramps, diarrhea, and nervousness. Also called overactive thyroid.
The chemical changes that take place in a cell or an organism. These changes make energy and the materials cells and organisms need to grow, reproduce, and stay healthy. Metabolism also helps get rid of toxic substances.
Palpitations are feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard or too fast.
Thyroid Gland
A gland located beneath the larynx (voice box) that makes thyroid hormone and calcitonin. The thyroid helps regulate growth and metabolism. Also called thyroid gland.
Thyroid Hormones
A hormone that affects heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. Thyroid hormone is made by the thyroid gland and can also be made in the laboratory.
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
A hormone produced by the pituitary gland. TSH stimulates the release of thyroid hormone.

More about Graves' Disease

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Exophthalmic goitre, Toxic diffuse goitre, Toxic diffuse goiter, Exophthalmic goiter, Basedow disease, Basedow's disease, Graves disease, Grave's disease

Other terms to know: See all 8
Autoimmune Disease, Goiter, Hyperthyroidism

Related articles:
Thyroid Function Tests

Keep up with systematic reviews on Graves' Disease:


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