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Risk Factors and Complications of Graves’ Disease

Wednesday, 29 Jun 2011 04:15 PM

Though the causes of Graves’ disease have yet to be discovered, experts believe that there are some hormone-related factors that may increase a person’s chances of developing the condition including:

• Having a family member with Graves’
• Being a woman — men are five time less likely to have the disease
• Age — Graves’ is most prevalent in those older than 20.
• Stress
• Pregnancy
• Smoking

Seeking treatment as soon as you recognize Graves’ symptoms can help to avoid complications like:

• Heart problems: The most serious problems linked to Graves’ disease involve the heart. Rapid heartbeat, a heart rhythm disorder, and congestive heart failure can result if the condition goes untreated. Typically, heart problems can be reversed through appropriate treatment.
• Brittle bones: Undiagnosed or untreated hyperthyroidism can also lead to osteoporosis, a condition where bones become brittle due to a lack of calcium. High levels of thyroid hormones can prevent the body from properly incorporating calcium into the bones.
• Thyrotoxic crisis: This rare complication is characterized by a sudden intensification of the symptoms of Graves’ disease that can result in fever, rapid pulse, and delirium. This complication should be met with immediate medical care.

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