Is Graves’s Disease Classed as a Chronic Illness?

Graves’ disease is a common cause of thyrotoxicosis or hyperthyroidism i.e. increased activity of one’s thyroid glands. Thyroid gland is a gland of butterfly shape and it contains most of the microscopic sacs known as thyroid follicles. Walls of each of these follicles consist of two different types or forms of cells i.e. parafollicular and follicular cells.

Follicular cells are responsible for the production of thyroxine i.e. thyroid hormones of T3 and T4. These hormones are responsible for controlling the metabolism of a human body. Regulation of body’s metabolism is critical to control the body weight, mood, physical and mental energy levels. On the other side, parafollicular cells are responsible for the production of calcitonin hormone that regulates the calcium levels in the body of humans.

Is Graves’s Disease Classed as a Chronic Illness?

Is Graves’s Disease Classed as a Chronic Illness?

Most of the patients ask a common question that whether Graves’ disease categorizes as a chronic disease or illness. Answer is yes and it is justifiable according to the risk factors and progression of the problem, about which we have discussed in this blog post.

Risk Factors

Grave’s disease is a type of autoimmune disease and hence, it attacks specific tissues of a human body and in this disease, it causes over activity of thyroid glands. The problem takes place because of the antibodies production against the thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH receptor leading to continuous thyroid gland stimulation to secrete and synthesize thyroid hormones of T3 and T4 in excessive quantities. Other than this, you will find genetic components present in the disease and its development, as linked with the presence of specific genes in patients. Graves’ disease sometimes has close association with various other types or forms of autoimmune disorders, including pernicious anemia, dependent mellitus of diabetes problem, collagen diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Progression of the Disease

Other than the risk factors associated with Graves’ disease, one can say the problem is a chronic one based on progression of the same problem. Graves’ disease features hyperthyroidism and an additional disease among the following i.e. eyeballs protrusion or exophthalmos, goiter and pretibial myxoedema i.e. swelling of the skin present above the ankle’s lateral bones. According to experts, the Graves’ disease is a chronic one because it has many fluctuating courses. This means, a large number of patients show a pattern consisting of alternative remission and relapse, while 40% of patients show only one or two episode. Eventually, various patients start suffering from hypothyroid, while the problem remits in a spontaneous way.

Treatment of Graves’ disease

Treatment to cure or reduce the symptoms of Graves’ disease consists of three different possibilities. These are

Radio Active Iodine: In case of radioactive iodine treatment, doctors prescribe Iodine-131 dose in the empirical form to accumulate in the patients’ thyroid and destroys the respective gland based on location radiation. In this case, patients have to take the dosage for many months to get benefits or positive effects.

Anti-thyroid Drugs: Doctors prescribe propylthiouracil and carbimazole, as common anti thyroid drugs to patients to inhibit or reduce the production of thyroid hormones.

Subtotal Thyroidectomy: Doctors perform this treatment only in those patients rendered with euthyroid in the past.

Considering the treatment options, we can say that Graves’ disease is not curable completely. Instead, the treatment helps in managing the condition of hyperthyroidism or simply reduces the formation of excessive thyroid hormone formation.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 14, 2021

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