Graves’ Disease: A Thyroid Disorder

January 2, 2017

Graves’ disease is a condition in which the body’s immune system causes over-production of thyroid hormone, leading to hyperthyroidism. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located near the throat and regulates a wide variety of bodily functions such as metabolism, growth, and development. Symptoms can include rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and in severe cases, the appearance of bulging eyeballs. Beta-blockers medications block the hormone adrenaline that is responsible for causing effects such as rapid heartbeat and anxiety in individuals with Graves’. Side effects of beta-blockers can be dizziness and fatigue. Propylthiauracil (PTU) and methimazole (Tapazole) are anti-thyroid drugs. They both work by blocking the production of thyroid hormone and have rash and joint pain as side effects. Additionally, the radioactive form of iodine can be given to weaken the thyroid gland and result in less hormone production.