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Ask the Experts: Graves Disease

Updated: Tuesday, December 3 2013, 02:20 PM EST
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- A local woman who has started blogging about some painful symptoms asked us to "ask experts" at TriHealth this week about what is often a hidden health problem. Medical Reporter Liz Bonis tells us more about it in today's Medical Edge.
 
Jessica Gabbard started blogging about some pretty serious symptoms recently after feeling no one understood her struggles. She says she's had everything from double vision to breathing problems, and at just 31 years old, has already had six surgeries.
 
Part of the reason she is choosing to share her story, however, is to raise awareness of something she wants all of us to know more about, and that is what she refers to is something called Graves Disease. It comes from an altered thyroid. So, how do you know if you have it and what are the signs and symptoms? And, how do you get treatment?

Doctor David Demarco is a family medicine specialist. He says Graves Disease is from too much or a hyper-thyroid condition.

"Thyroid is a regulatory hormone, so it allows the body to remain balanced."

He says thyroid balances many things that you sort of take for granted with your everyday activity. These include body temperature, weight, heart rate, and hair growth.

As these pictures show add eye bulging and leg swelling for Graves Disease.

"It hits females more than men about seven to one ratio, certain families it tends to run in and it tends to hit between age 20 and 40."

Medication is the initial treatment for most thyroid conditions, and too low does tend to be more common than too high.

Nobody is quite sure what causes Graves Disease, but it does appear to be related to your immune system.

"There's some thought that an infection might play a role, certain bacteria or a virus might trigger the changes that lead to Graves Disease."

If you think you have a thyroid condition, Doctor Demarco says, see your doctor. Blood and other tests are the best way to get this proper diagnosis and treatment, and avoid more serious complications, as those that set in for Wessica Gabbard.

We do have a link to Jessica's Blog.

You can also submit your health questions by clicking on ask the expert.Ask the Experts: Graves Disease


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