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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Grave's Disease
Graves Disease and Hair Loss
Answer: During hypo/hyperthyroidism, the hair becomes weakened. As the condition is corrected the hair strengthens and begins to grow at its usual rate. However, as the hair gets about 1/4 in length of growth after the condition is corrected(about one month) the weak spot at 1/4 inch manifests itself and the hair breaks. The only way to correct this completely is to grow your hair out completely, but cutting it short will help to reduce the pressure on the weak areas and reduce breaking somewhat.
Graves Disease [posted 11/25/98]
Answer: Heart palps and shortness of breath are common with hyperthyroidism. As to the various options, I would opt for I 131 now as the fastest way to treat the hyperthyroidism and would probably have the fewest long term side effects.
Graves Disease [posted 11/19/98]
Answer: Grave's Disease is a systemic autoimmune disease. It tends to affect the thyroid and the eyes the most, although some do experience nerve damage and mental status changes. There is also a small percentage of patients who develop myasthenia gravis and other similar autoimmune problems, this may need to be checked occasionally. As to whether the Graves caused the carpal tunnel, there really is no way to know short of a nerve biopsy (not recommended). Since the treatment is the same regardless of the cause, I wouldn't focus on this. PT is the correct start as is nocturnal wrist splints. If this is not effective, you will need surgery.It doesn't sound like your Doctor understands Graves. It might be useful to see an endocrinologist to see if there is any evidence of further progression, probably not, but, one can't say without further testing.
Graves Disease [posted 8/11/98]
Answer: Graves Disease is a systemic disease of the immune system . In general, it affects the thyroid primarily, but some patients develop eye finding, myasthenia gravis, cardiomyopathy, and liver involvement. Her prognosis is a function of the other organs involved since the thyroid is fairly easily controlled in general. Find out whether there is eye, heart involvement - these are the difficult parts of Graves.
Graves Disease [posted 8/11/98]
Answer: Graves Disease is a systemic disease of the immune system. It tends to target certain organs for reasons that we do not understand, but probably reflect antigens on the surfaces of the cells. The thyroid and the eyes are usually the organs that rder affected, but the heart etc., can be affected. It is difficult to tell from your inquiry whether you have any decrease in function of your heart from the Graves or the ensuing hyper/hypothyroidism. If the ejection fraction is normal, I wouldn't be too concerned. If the function is decreased (measured by ejection fraction) treatment may be necessary. However, it shouldn't result in a "heart attack". It can result in irregular beats. You need functional tests of your heart to know the "strength". If an echo is normal, I wouldn't be concerned.
Answer: Graves Disease is a cyclic disease. It tends to cause several problems throughout the body. The thyroid is merely one of the end organs affected by this systemic disease. Consequently, any treatment will not prevent Graves Disease. Proper treatment will decrease the risk of eventually developing hypothyroidism, but a great number of patients will become hypothyroid regardless of treatment. Synthroid should have no side effects if taken in correct dosage.
Answer: Graves Disease is a systemic autoimmune disease which involves several organs of the body. The most common sites are the eye and the thyroid. Treatment of the thyroid disease will not necessarily slow down the progression of the eye findings. Ongoing evaluation of the eyes is usually necessary.
Answer: Propylthiouracil commonly referred to as PTU, is one of the drugs available for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and Grave's Disease-an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid. In general, pregnant women tolerate mild cases of hyperthyroidism. But, if treatment is necessary the choices are surgery or drugs. PTU is currently the best drug available-if surgery is not a good option. However, the drug does cross the placenta causing fetal blockage of throxine synthesis (thyroid hormone) and can lead to fetal goiter. PTU must be followed closely due to its other potential side effects-especially on the white blood cell level.
Other risks to the fetus appear minimal; but, tightly controlled studies are not available.
Cushings vs. Graves Disease
Answer: Cushings Disease was the original report by Cushing of Adrenal hormone overproduction. Subsequently, this has been widened to be called Cushings Syndrome which is the physical findings of overproduction/overprescribing of steroid hormones. These can be due to overproduction by the adrenal glands, overstimulation of the adrenals by the pituitary or certain types of carcinomas, or prolonged use of glucocorticoid steroids or ACTH. There is no direct relationship to Graves Disease except that there is a slightly higher incidence of adrenal disease in patients with Graves Disease.
Answer: Yes, but, we usually don't use it more than 4-5 months just for
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