Grave’s Disease: A Lifelong Commitment

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to one day wake up in the body of someone else? Nothing seems right; you find yourself wondering who is this person and where is the real me? That is what people with Graves’ disease go through nearly every day.

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that was discovered by Robert Graves in 1835. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the thyroid gland and causes hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease occurs when the antibodies like thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin and thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TRAbs) attack the thyroid gland as if it were a foreign object or a virus of some sort. This disease is the most common type of hyperthyroidism. Attacking the thyroid gland in such a manner makes it excessively overproduce the hormone thyroxine which controls the body’s metabolic rate. Heightened activity of the thyroid can increase the body’s metabolism by 60% to 100%. (Weeks 34-35).

Graves’ disease is a thyroid disorder with an unknown cause, although there is an increased risk for those developing it if other family members have it. It is eight times more common in women than in men. It usually occurs in those who are over the age of 20, though children are sometimes affected. Graves’ disease affects more than 3 million people and there are approximately 60,000 new cases of Graves’ disease in the US each year. It accounts for 60% of hyperthyroidism cases. Graves’ disease has many possible symptoms which include fatigue, tremors, double vision, insomnia, anxiety, muscle weakness, unstable weight, nervousness or irritability, restlessness, anxiety, increased sweating, brittle hair and nails, heat intolerance, rapid and irregular heartbeat, freque...

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...h the multidimensional challenges associated with Graves’ disease. However, empowerment and supporting the patient’s self-efficacy to diminish feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and cultivate new habits and/or attitudes will ameliorate coping capacity. An encouraging, supportive environment that will capitalize on success and self-esteem with informal support will heighten positive functioning.

Works Cited

Ghandour, Abdulraouf, and Carin Reust. "Hyperthyroidism: A Stepwise Approach To

Management." Journal Of Family Practice 60.7 (2011): 388-395.

Ginsberg, Jody. "Diagnosis And Management Of Graves' Disease." CMAJ: Canadian Medical

Association Journal 168.5 (2003): 575-585.

Holcomb, Susan Simmons. "Detecting Thyroid Disease, Part 1." Nursing 33.8 (2003): 32cc1-


Weeks, Bridget H. "Grave's Disease." Nurse Practitioner 30.11 (2005): 34-45.