Trusted Resources: Evidence & Education
Scientific literature and patient education texts
Graves’ Disease in Children
source: Stanford Medicine Children's Health
What is Graves’ disease in children?
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease. The immune system normally protects the body from germs with proteins called antibodies. But with an autoimmune disease, the body makes antibodies that attack its own tissues. With Graves’ disease, antibodies cause the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone. This is known as hyperthyroidism. Excess thyroid hormone in the bloodstream causes the body’s metabolism to be too active. This can lead to problems such as weight loss, nervousness, a fast heartbeat, tiredness, and other issues. Graves’ disease is an ongoing (chronic) condition that needs lifelong treatment or watching.
What are the possible complications of Graves’ disease in a child?
Some people with Graves’ disease develop an eye condition known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy. This is when the immune system attacks muscles and tissues around the eyes.
Side effects from the medicines used to treat Graves’ disease can also occur. If you have concerns about complications from Graves’ disease, talk with your child’s healthcare provider.
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