TED and Smoking: Information for Patients | oneGRAVESvoice

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TED and Smoking: Information for Patients

key information

source: British Thyroid Foundation

year: 2013


Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid produces more thyroxine than is needed by the body. It is also referred to as thyrotoxicosis, or an over-active thyroid. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition and the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is caused by antibodies that attack the thyroid gland: the body’s immune system turns against the thyroid gland, which in response becomes over-active.

About a quarter of people with Graves’ disease develop thyroid eye disease (TED). TED is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the back of the eye and causes inflammation. This can cause the eyes to be pushed forward (‘staring’ or ‘bulging’ eyes) and the eyes and eyelids to become swollen and red. In some cases there is swelling and stiffness of the muscles that move the eyes so that the eyes are no longer in line with each other; this can cause double vision.

Cigarette smoking is known to have a major influence on Graves’ disease and on TED.