A woman holding her forehead while tilting her head and having her eyes closed.

Graves’ Disease: Early Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid, a gland in the neck. It is caused by an overactive immune system that results in the body producing too much of the thyroid hormone, resulting in increased heart rate, fatigue, weight loss, and other symptoms. While Graves’ Disease can affect anyone at any age, left untreated, it can lead to more serious health problems down the road.

If you think you may be experiencing any of the signs or symptoms associated with Graves’ Disease, it’s important to get evaluated by a healthcare professional. Continue reading to learn more about Graves’ Disease, who is most at risk, its symptoms, and treatment options.

What is Graves’ Disease?

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that impacts the function of the thyroid gland. It is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine (T4). The increased production of thyroxine results in an overactive metabolism, causing the body to produce more energy than it needs. Symptoms include weight loss, fatigue, and an enlarged thyroid (goiter). Other symptoms include feeling nervous or jittery, sweating excessively, having difficulty sleeping, and having frequent bowel movements.

Graves’ disease occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid cells. This triggers the thyroid to become overly active and produce too much thyroxine. The excess hormone disrupts normal body processes, leading to the symptoms mentioned above.

Risk factors include a family history of the disorder and having a weakened immune system due to other health conditions. While there is no known cure for Graves’ disease, treatment options are available to help manage symptoms. These include medications to reduce thyroid hormone levels, radiation therapy to reduce the size of the thyroid gland, or surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland. With proper diagnosis and treatment, symptoms can be effectively managed.

Graves’ Disease Symptoms and Complications

An Asian man sweating while holding his forehead with three of his fingers.Graves’ disease can cause various symptoms and complications, varying in severity depending on the individual. Common symptoms include weight loss, insomnia, irritability, increased perspiration, hand tremors, heat sensitivity, increased appetite, fatigue, palpitations, muscle weakness, swollen neck, and Graves’ disease eyes (bulging eyes).

The first symptoms of Graves’ disease are typically weight loss and a rapid heart rate (tachycardia). An increase in appetite and difficulty sleeping can accompany these. Other common signs include bulging eyes, swelling around the eyes, redness, and itching in the eyes.

If left untreated, the symptoms of Graves’ disease can worsen and lead to further complications. These include an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), osteoporosis, thyroid storm (severe flare-up), infertility, and Graves’ ophthalmopathy (eye problems). Individuals with Graves’ disease may also experience emotional changes such as mood swings and depression.

It is important to seek medical attention if you believe you may have Graves’ disease, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Treatment typically involves medication to control the production of thyroid hormones and the use of radioactive iodine or surgery to reduce the size of the thyroid gland.

Who is most at Risk for Graves’ Disease?

woman in a field of tulipsThose at the highest risk for developing Graves’ disease include those with a family history of thyroid disease, those under a lot of stress, and those with other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to be aware of any changes to your body so that you can seek medical attention right away if you suspect you may have Graves’ disease.

Women are more likely to be affected than men. Certain genetic factors, such as having family members with Graves’ disease, can also increase a person’s risk. Additionally, those with a history of smoking or exposure to radiation are at an increased risk of developing Graves’ disease. Other contributing factors may include stress, certain medications, age, and environmental toxins.

Those already living with an autoimmune disorder, such as thyroiditis or type 1 diabetes, may also be at an increased risk of developing the condition.

How is Graves’ disease Diagnosed and Treated?

An Asian man doing blood work Thyroid test panel to diagnose Graves' disease.Diagnosis of Graves’ disease involves a few steps. Your doctor will typically begin with a physical exam, during which they’ll look for any signs and symptoms associated with Graves’ disease, such as an enlarged thyroid gland. They may also take a detailed medical history to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

In addition, your doctor may order several blood tests to measure the level of thyroid hormones in your body. House-call healthcare professionals can administer many of the required tests at home. Imaging tests may also be done to get a better look at the size and shape of your thyroid gland.

Graves’ disease treatment usually involves medications that reduce the production of thyroid hormones. Radioactive iodine treatment is another option. This therapy destroys the thyroid gland’s cells that produce hormones, thus reducing their levels. Surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland may also be recommended in some cases.

Lifestyle changes can also help manage the symptoms of Graves’ disease. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can help to reduce fatigue. It is also important to reduce stress as much as possible to avoid flares of symptoms. Stress management techniques such as yoga or mindfulness can be beneficial for this. Taking time for yourself to relax can also help you stay healthy. Finally, if you smoke, quitting is essential to reduce the risk of further complications from Graves’ disease.


Graves’ disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can affect the thyroid and other organs in the body. It can be difficult to diagnose due to its wide-ranging symptoms, and it is important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent long-term complications.

Finding time to visit a clinic can be difficult if you have a busy schedule or mobility issues. However, house-call healthcare professionals can provide convenient and comprehensive care to those with Graves’ disease in the comfort of their own homes.

Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing Graves’ disease, and House call health care professionals can help those with the condition get the care they need more easily. Whether you have a busy schedule, mobility issues, or other barriers that make it difficult to visit a clinic, getting professional medical attention right away can help prevent long-term complications. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help today!

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Lab Testing - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to do lab tests occasionally?

It is important to do lab tests occasionally because they can provide valuable information about an individual's health and help to identify potential health issues early on. Lab tests can measure a wide range of factors, including blood count, cholesterol levels, liver and kidney function, and hormone levels, and can provide insight into an individual's overall health and wellness. Additionally, lab tests can help to diagnose and monitor the progression of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and can help to identify any potential health risks or concerns. By doing lab tests occasionally, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of potential health problems in the future.

What does a routine blood test cover?

A routine blood test is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. Blood tests can also be used to check how well certain organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are functioning.

How is a blood sample collected for lab testing?

A blood sample for lab testing is typically collected through a process called venipuncture, which involves inserting a small needle into a vein to draw blood. This is usually done on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

What is the cost of a lab test?

In general, the cost of a lab test can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It is always best to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a lab test.

Read More: Lab Testing FAQ