Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder, which causes hyperactivity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a 2 –inches- long butterfly-shaped endocrine gland present in the neck of an individual. It lies just above the collarbone and beneath the larynx (voice box). The hyperactivity of the thyroid glands results in hyper secretion or increased secretion of the thyroid hormones. The common physical features of Graves’ disease include exophthalmos or bulging of the eyeballs and goiter (a swelling in the neck due to enlarged thyroid). Graves’ disease is also known as diffuse toxic goiter (Reid).
Short History of the Disease
In Graves’ disease an overactive immune system raises an antibody called Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin (TSI), which is also known as the TSH receptor antibody. This antibody mimics TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and stimulates the thyroid gland that causes hyperactivity in the thyroid gland. The serum levels of thyroid hormones, tri-iodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4) are normally maintained at physiological concentrations. However, hyperactivity of the thyroid glands leads to increased serum levels of T3 and T4, beyond physiological concentrations. These hormones control the rate of metabolism within the body. An increase in T3 and T4 level beyond physiological concentrations leads to increased rate of metabolism within the body (Tintinalli).
Graves’ disease is mo…
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