Autoimmune Disease

Graves Disease

Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to overactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
 
The thyroid gland is an important organ of the endocrine system. It is located in the front of the neck just below the voice box. This gland releases the hormones thyroxine(T4) and triiodothyronine(T3), which control body metabolism. Controlling metabolism is critical for regulating mood, weight, and mental and physical energy levels.
 
If the body makes too much thyroid hormone, the condition is called hyperthyroidism. (An underactive thyroidleads to hypothyroidism.)
Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is caused by an abnormal immune system response that causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormones. Graves disease is most common in women over age 20. However, the disorder may occur at any age and may affect men as well.
 
SOURCE: PubMed Health
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March is Autoimmune Disease
Awareness Month!

Autoimmune diseases result from a dysfunction of the immune system. The immune system protects you from disease and infection. Sometimes, though, the immune system can produce autoantibodies that attack healthy cells, tissues, and organs. This can lead to autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune diseases can affect any part of the body. More than 80 autoimmune diseases have been identified. Some are relatively well known, such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, while others are rare and difficult to diagnose.

Collectively, autoimmune diseases are among the most prevalent diseases in the U.S., affecting more than 23.5 million Americans. They are more common among women, and while some are more prevalent among white people, others are more common among African-Americans and Hispanics. Autoimmune diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent, for reasons unknown.

Some autoimmune diseases are life-threatening, and most are debilitating and require a lifetime of treatment. There are treatments available to reduce the symptoms and effects from many autoimmune diseases, but cures have yet to be discovered. Since most autoimmune diseases are rare, patients can often spend years seeking a proper diagnosis.

Learn more about autoimmune diseases here.