Trusted Resources: Evidence & Education
Scientific literature and patient education texts
Graves’ Disease and Opthalmology Overview
source: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
What is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that can cause hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Thyroid hormones control the way your body uses energy, so they affect nearly every organ in your body, even the way your heart beats.
With Graves’ disease, your immune system attacks your thyroid gland, causing it to make more thyroid hormones than your body needs. As a result, many of your body’s functions speed up.
How Common is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease affects nearly 1 in 100 Americans. About 4 out of 5 cases of hyperthyroidism in the United States are caused by Graves’ disease.
Who Is More Likely to Have Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease is more common in women and people older than age 30. You are more likely to develop the disease if you
• have a family history of Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s disease
• have other autoimmune disorders
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