Graves Disease Essay

Graves Disease Essay

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Graves Disease
Graves’ Disease By Nicholas Laskovski Graves’ Disease is a disorder that affects the thyroid gland and results in a dramatic change in the body’s metabolism. This paper will discuss the ...
Graves’ Disease By Nicholas Laskovski Graves’ Disease is a disorder that affects the thyroid gland and results in a dramatic change in the body’s metabolism. This paper will discuss the manifestations of the disease in the body, recent research on the disease, and how Graves’ disease can be treated. By way of background, Graves’ disease dates from the early nineteenth century. Robert Graves (1796-1853) was an Irish physician, born in Dublin. He studied medicine in Edinburgh but took his
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MB in 1818 from Dublin. After a few years of traveling through Europe, he returned to Dublin when he was appointed physician to the Meath hospital. He was an excellent diagnostician, best remembered today for his great description of Grave’s Disease (hyperthyroidism) (Chambers, pg. 620). The thyroid gland is a thin, butterfly shaped organ that is located in the lower part of the neck. It lies on the sides and in front of the windpipe, or trachea (drkoop.com). The picture
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below provides a graphic description of the thyroid. (Could It Be My Thyroid?) In the diagram, T3 and T4 portray hormones containing iodine. (T4 includes four iodine’s and T3 includes three). Of the two, T3 is the more potent. One role of the thyroid is to create hormones. When a person has Graves’ disease, the thyroid becomes overly activated, creating more T4 and T3 than the body needs. This overacting is called hyperthyroidism (drkoop.com). As a result,
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the metabolism of many organs within the body is affected, resulting in annoying symptoms and abnormal health effects (Could It Be My Thyroid?). Graves’ Disease is located on the fourteenth chromosome, or 14q31 (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.org). There have been many different opinions about the disease and many researchers have studied it. Among them, Bartels (1941), Martin and Fisher (1945), and Skillern (1972). It is the opinion of the majority, that Graves’ disease is inherited as a simple autosomal recessive condition, with relative
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sex limitation to females. The disease’s signs and symptoms can either be mild or severe, depending on the activity level of the thyroid. The disease affects the immune system directly. Since the symptoms develop slowly (over a period of approximately 3 months,) the carrier may not even be aware that he or she has Graves’ disease, until the condition becomes very severe. Some of the most common signs are weight loss, feelings of being hot or sweaty, tremors, and palpitations
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(racing of the heart), (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.org). Other signs may also occur, including over activity of the intestines, resulting in frequent bowl movements. In addition, the breakdown of protein in muscles can lead to extreme weakness, resulting in trouble breathing and limited endurance. (The Thyroid Book). Mentally, the disease can be very disturbing. Mood swings and thinking impairment can be difficult to handle . Depression and crying spells are very common, and the patient’s entire personality may change (The Thyroid Book).
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These problems make it very difficult for anyone to sustain work, (such as preparing five page long reports about Genetics!) Generally, the thyroid becomes enlarged in Graves’ disease, yet it is really not sore in anyway. The enlargement, called a goiter, can sometimes be seen in the neck. Even though it might not be visible, it can also be detected by examining the neck (www.drkoop.com). If a physician suspects that a patient might have Graves’ disease, (or some form of
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hyperthyroidism,) he or she is likely to order a TSH
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