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Graves disease

Category: Illness or disabilities



Introduction and description

Graves' disease (or Basedow-Graves disease) is classified as an Autoimmune disease, but it is also a Thyroid disease as it most commonly affects the thyroid, frequently causing it to enlarge to twice its size or more (goiter), become overactive, with related hyperthyroid symptoms such as increased heartbeat, muscle weakness, disturbed sleep, and irritability. It can also affect the eyes, causing bulging eyes (exophthalmos). It affects other systems of the body, including the skin, heart, circulation and nervous system.

It affects up to 2% of the female population, sometimes appears after childbirth, and has a female:male incidence of 7:1 to 8:1. As Wikipedia says “Diagnosis is usually made on the basis of symptoms, although thyroid hormone tests may be useful, particularly to monitor treatment”, which rather sums up the problem with diagnosis, in that there is now growing evidence, as with all the diseases and illnesses on this site that it is simply a symptom of another underlying cause, which needs to be treated.


The signs and symptoms of Graves' disease virtually all result from the direct and indirect effects of hyperthyroidism, with the main exceptions being the problem with the bulging eyes and what is called pretibial myxedema (which are caused by the immune processes of the disease).

Symptoms of the resultant hyperthyroidism are mainly insomnia, hand tremor, hyperactivity, hair loss, excessive sweating, shaking hands, itching, heat intolerance, weight loss despite increased appetite, diarrhoea, frequent defecation, palpitations, muscle weakness, and skin warmth and moistness.

Further signs that may be seen on physical examination are most commonly a diffusely enlarged (usually symmetric), nontender thyroid, 'lid lag', excessive lacrimation [production of tears] due to Graves' ophthalmopathy, arrhythmias of the heart, such as sinus tachycardia, atrial fibrillation and premature ventricular contractions, and hypertension.

"People with hyperthyroidism may experience behavioral and personality changes including: psychosis, mania, anxiety, agitation, and depression".


If you look at the normal description of the cause of this disease, it goes something like this:
"The main cause is the Immunoglobulin G antibody, which recognizes and binds to the thyrotropin receptor (TSH receptor). It mimics the TSH to that receptor and activates the secretion of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and the actual TSH level will decrease in the blood plasma. The TSH levels fall because the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid negative feedback loop is working. The result is very high levels of circulating thyroid hormones and the negative feedback regulation will not work for the thyroid gland".

But this is not a true cause.  The anti-body has been produced as a result of something and is undoubtedly attacking something as yet unidentified - a pathogen, and it may be that multiple pathogens result in the same effects - the same symptoms.

Graves disease is just one of a family of diseases which relate to problems with the thyroid.  This more general section may prove to be more useful to you than this very specific one, as it lists all the causes of thyroid problems.  In contrast those researchers with their heads buried in the symptoms of just Graves disease are still in the process of identifying the root causes.  So far, according to PubMed, they have discovered the following:

  • Inherited genes – which can imply some form of damage in the growing fetus and thus in the womb, if the mother or father has no predisposition to the disease.  But there also appears to be a ‘genetic predisposition for Graves' disease’, suggesting that some people are more prone than others to develop TSH receptor activating antibodies due to a genetic cause. HLA DR (especially DR3) appears to play a significant role.  There again, maybe its just the nanoparticles.
  • Viral infection or bacterial infection -  there is a growing belief that since Graves' disease is a disease which appears suddenly, often quite late in life, it is  a viral or bacterial infection that may trigger antibodies which cross-react with the human TSH receptor.
    One possible culprit researchers have positively identified is the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica (a cousin of Yersinia pestis, the agent of bubonic plague). However, although there is indirect evidence for the structural similarity between the bacteria and the human thyrotropin receptor, direct causative evidence is limited.
  • Pharmaceuticals - There is already a link, between this disease and certain pharmaceuticals.  If you follow this LINK which takes you to the eHealthme web site, scroll down until you get to the section 'drugs that could cause', there you will find a list of pharmaceuticals implicated in causing Graves disease.  The list has been compiled from the Adverse Drug Reports submitted to the FDA and SEDA.

If you now glance at the section on Thyroid disease you will see that other causes have already been identified -  Nutritional deprivation, Stress,  Surgery, Fungus infectionsToxins - including heavy metal poisoning, Vaccines and  Parasites;  it is not beyond the bounds of reasoning to assume that the same pathogens will be implicated eventually in Graves disease.  For this reason it may be far more helpful to read the section on Thyroid disease to understand the wider picture.

The section on Pituitary gland disease should also be read, as the pituitary gland controls the thyroid gland.  Thus disease of the pituitary will cause disease of the thyroid.

How it works

see Thyroid disease for an explanation of how it can give a spiritual experience.

The section on Autoimmune disease provides a generic description of how so called 'Autoimmune diseases' work, as Graves disease is classified as an auto-immune disease. 


The photos of the people on this page are of famous people who had this disease - Marty Feldman, Barabara Bush and Dame Maggie Smith.  Christina Rossetti also had the disease, so we have included some of her poems.


Related observations