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Thursday, October 17, 2013

What is Graves' Disease ?

According to www.medicalnewstoday.com, Graves' disease is defined as an autoimmune disease, in which the patient's own immune system started to attack its own thyroid gland. When this happens, it will trigger the gland to produce large amount of thyroxine. Thyroxine (T4) is a hormone, produced by the thyroid gland which serves to help regulating growth and controlling metabolism in the body. Contrary, graves' disease is a form of hyperthyroidism. When thyroxine levels are high, the patient's metabolic rate increases. This, in turn will affect one's physical appearance, as well as their moods.

However, it seems to affect more on women, especially those, aged 20 years, or more. At this moment, there is no known medication, or treatment to stop the patient's immune system from attacking their thyroid gland. Nevertheless, treatments do exist ... which can ease the symptoms and bring down the production of thyroxine.

The purpose of the immune systems is to attack pathogens, organisms and substances that are existing in our body, especially bacterias, viruses, parasites, cancerous cells and fungi. But, if the immune system starts to attack good tissues in the body, this will become an auto-immune disease. Even medical experts are still unsure, why autoimmune diseases occur. Strangely, when it affects the thyroid gland, it does not damage it, but instead, it will cause the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and is located in the neck (below the Adam's apple). It produces hormones which help to regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions, by which the body uses energy. The thyroid gland produces thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Thyroxine affects many body systems and has a key role in regulating our body's metabolic rate --->  the rate at which chemical reactions occur in our body; the rate at which our bodies break things down to produce energy, and build new tissue (metabolism).

To ensure that such medical condition is correctly detected, one's must undergo a detailed physical & blood examinations.

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