Graves Disease and Thyroid Storm
Graves’s Disease is a condition that occurs when the thyroid goes into over activity. The immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The hormone, thyroxine, is overproduced as a result of overstimulation of the thyroid gland. A common characteristic of Graves’ disease is the presence of a goiter on the neck. If Graves’ disease is not treated properly, it could lead to thyroid storm, which is a life threatening condition.
Women tend to get the disease more frequently than men. The hormone, thyroxine, controls the rate of metabolism within an individual. Graves’ disease can be treated with radioactive iodine which destroys certain cells in the thyroid and slows down the metabolism.
Other treatments involve taking hormone therapy and iodine to help get the thyroid back to functioning normally. Graves’ disease, if accelerated, can lead to cardiovascular problems. Hypertension tends to be a common trait among the people who get this disease; the heart has to pump more blood throughout the body, resulting in high blood pressure. Individuals with Graves’ disease arrhythmias, palpitations, and tachycardia (fast heart rate). As a person advances in age, the problems associated with Graves’ disease can advance also. There are correlations to the age of the patient as to how severe the problems of the disease can get.
Function of the thyroid gland
The thyroid, found in the neck, helps the body to metabolize fuel into energy; this gland also helps to synthesize proteins and regulate the body’s responses to certain hormones and stimulants. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland help to control the thyroid.
When things go awry and there is a malfunction of the thyroid gland, a emergent medical state, known as thyroid storm can result. Symptoms of thyroid storm include fever, irritability, and pain, an inability to focus, repeated shaking and sweating at different times of the day or night. Thyroid storm is so dangerous because it can lead to pulmonary edema and heart failure.
Characteristics of thyroid storm
Thyroid storm is characterized by an extreme elevation in temperature, shortness of breath, anxiety, disorientation to time and place, and mental confusion. Thyroid storm can quickly advance to thyrotoxicosis, and lead to coma and death.
Causes of thyroid storm
Thyroid storm is usually caused by overstimulation of the thyroid gland. Overstimulation can occur with different inflammatory processes associated with Graves’ disease, and also by other inflammatory processes going on in the body. Overstimulation of the thyroid gland could also occur due to radiation or exposure to toxins.
If you have Graves’ disease, it is important that you get regular checkups with your doctor to ensure that your thyroid hormone levels are in balance. You should see your doctor if you notice changes in your overall condition. Thus, if you notice significant weakness, fatigue you should see your doctor as soon as possible.