Graves' Disease - Symptoms

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What were the symptoms associated with your Graves' disease?

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What are the symptoms of Graves' disease?

Most people with Graves' disease have symptoms of an overactive thyroid, such as:

  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid)
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability or nervousness
  • Heat sensitivity, increased sweating
  • Hand tremors
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Thinning of skin or fine, brittle hair
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Weight loss without dieting
  • Fatigue or muscle weakness
  • Lighter menstrual flow and less frequent periods
  • Problems getting pregnant

Unlike other causes of an overactive thyroid, Graves' disease also can cause:

  • Eye changes. For some people with Graves' disease, the tissue behind the eyes becomes inflamed and swells. This can cause bulging or discomfort in one or both eyes. Sometimes it affects vision. Eye symptoms can occur before, at the same time, or after other symptoms of Graves' disease begin. It may rarely occur in people with normal thyroid function. We do not know why these eye problems occur. They are more common in people who smoke, andsmoking makes eye symptoms worse. Eye problems often get better without treatment.
  • Reddening and thickening of the skin, often on the shins and tops of the feet. This rare skin problem is not serious and is usually painless. Most people with this skin problem also have eye problems from Graves' disease.

Symptoms of Graves' disease can occur slowly or very suddenly and are sometimes confused with other health problems. Some people with Graves' disease do not have any symptoms.

Picture of the thyroid gland
Picture of the thyroid gland
Return to Graves' Disease

See what others are saying

Comment from: Nan_inthesun, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

The symptoms were tachycardia, trembling, sweating, weight loss, irritability, anxiety, dry skin/hair/nails, trouble swallowing and heat sensitivity. I've been on treatment with methimazole, and it does help, but I am all over the map with how I respond. I either go hypo, or bounce around the map on the hyper side. I have a lot of muscle and joint pain, kind of like I have the flu. I also have peripheral neuropathy although it's not terrible.

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Comment from: Lynda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

I developed Graves' disease after a robbery at gunpoint. About three weeks after it occurred, I woke up in the morning to have my coffee and found myself shaking and unable to lift the cup or even hold a spoon, the trembling was so bad. After that I started to lose hair and my finger nails became quite deformed. Heart palpitating and sweating soon followed. I was so conscious that I wouldn't leave my home. Once before diagnosis I had a couple shots of whiskey before attending an affair to calm myself and control the tremors. When diagnosed, I was emaciated, had high blood pressure and depression, as well as light and temperature reactions. It got so bad that I wouldn't leave the house, the muscle weakness interfered with climbing the steps, my balance was off and I held on to the rails. If I was carrying a gallon of water I had to put it on each step as I made my way up the steps. The fatigue stopped me in my tracks from working out! I had no energy, and a feeling like I was stuck in quicksand, my legs were so weak, and my core was in very bad shape so much that if I sat on the floor, I couldn't get back up! I attributed this to a fall I had taken. I later found out just what the thyroid controls. Looking back on it I had every single symptom minus the thyroid storm, but was also heading in that direction.

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