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Graves' Disease Causes and Risk Factors

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Graves' Disease Causes and Risk Factors
Introduction
Causes and Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Treatment

What causes Graves’ disease?
Doctors don't know yet what causes Graves’ disease. Normally, your immune system uses naturally occurring proteins called antibodies and white blood cells to help eliminate foreign substances such as viruses and bacterial from the body. During Graves’ disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, stimulating the thyroid to create excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.

However, Graves’ disease can be caused by a group of different factors that combine to cause thyroid problems, including heredity, your body's immune system, your age, sex hormones, and possibly stress. It is also possible to inherit a greater likelihood to have hyperthyroidism, which means that you may develop Graves’ disease at some time during your life.

Risk factors
Though the cause of Graves’ disease is unknown, experts believe a combination of factors may play a part in determining your likelihood of developing Graves’ disease. Factors such as age, sex, heredity, and emotional and environmental stress are involved. For example, more than eight out of 10 patients with thyroid disease are women. The particular risk factors that make it more likely that a person develops Graves’ disease include the following

Age - Graves’ disease usually develops after age 20and occurs in people younger than age 40

Family history - Your chance of developing Graves’ disease increases if other family members have it.

Gender - Women are seven times more likely to develop Graves’ disease than men

Genes - Although experts have not been able to locate the specific gene that causes the disease to be passed from one generation to the next, they know that some people inherit an immune system that can make antibodies against healthy cells.

Medical history – People diagnosed with other autoimmune diseases have an increased chance of developing Graves’ disease; other medical conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and vitiligo are also associated with Graves’ disease

Pregnancy

Stress

Smoking

Although there's no way to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid gland, treatments for Graves’ disease can help ease symptoms and decrease the production of thyroxine. However , some people who develop the disease report no stress in their lives. So how can you identify the signs and symptoms of this thyroid disorder? Continue reading the next section on symptoms and Graves’ disease side effects to learn more.

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Tags: thyroid disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorder, thyroid problems, thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism, thyroid gland, treatments, Arthritis, Pregnancy, bacterial, Diseases, symptoms, Diabetes, amounts, attacks, thyroid, smoking, Stress, cells
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