David DeMarco MD, a family medicine specialist at Blue Ash Family Physicians, discusses Graves’ disease with Local 12’s Liz Bonis during an Ask the Expert segment.
Graves’ Disease: What is it?
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to an overactive thyroid gland. “The thyroid is a regulatory hormone, so it allows the body to stay balanced,” Dr. DeMarco explains.
The thyroid gland, located at the front of the neck, is an important organ of the endocrine system that releases hormones that control body metabolism. Controlling metabolism is important for regulating:
- Mental energy levels
- Physical energy levels
This condition often causes eye bulging and leg swelling.
Graves’ Disease: Who’s at Risk?
“Nobody is quite sure what causes Graves’ disease, but it does appear to be immune-system related,” Dr. DeMarco says. “There’s some thought that an infection might play a role. Certain bacteria or a virus might trigger changes that could be linked to Graves' disease.”
Graves’ disease tends to be more common in females than in males. “About a seven to one ratio,” Dr. DeMarco points out.
Treating Graves’ Disease
If you think you have a thyroid condition, like Graves’ disease, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Blood and other tests are the best way to get a proper diagnosis and determine an appropriate treatment plan.