Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Graves’ Disease

Frequently Asked Question

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  • While Graves’ disease alone is not fatal, it can still lead to severe complications if left untreated and undiagnosed
  • People who have family members with Graves’ disease have a high probability of being affected by the disease at some point in their lives

Q: Is Graves’ disease hereditary?

A: According to numerous studies, there is a high probability that Graves’ disease is hereditary. About 70 percent of Graves’ disease occurrences are rooted in genetic causes, with the remaining 30 percent potentially triggered by environmental factors.1

Q: Is Graves’ disease fatal?

A: While Graves’ disease alone is not fatal, it can still lead to severe complications if left untreated and undiagnosed. These complications often stem from the serious cardiovascular effects of this autoimmune disease.

Q: Is Graves’ disease curable?

A: Graves’ disease can be managed through various treatments. However, common conventional treatments may lead to serious effects. For example, thyroid surgery will require you to take hormone replacement for the rest of your life, while radioiodine therapy may cause hypothyroidism.

Alternative methods may help you manage and treat Graves’ disease symptoms. You can regulate the thyroid’s production of hormones by optimizing your diet and incorporating foods that are goitrogenic. Selenium and L-carnitine may also help in improving the symptoms of this condition.

Q: How is Graves’ disease diagnosed?

A: It can be diagnosed through numerous blood tests (TSH test and Free T4 Test) and a thorough observation of the patient’s symptoms. There are instances where differential diagnosis is employed in order to separate the symptoms of Graves’ from the symptoms of another condition. See the diagnostic and treatment methods page to know more about these tests.

Q: Who is usually affected by Graves’ disease?

A: People who have family members with Graves’ disease have a high probability of being affected by the disease at some point in their lives. People with other autoimmune diseases have also been observed to have a higher chance of being affected by this disease. These include rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, Addison's disease, and type 1 diabetes.2

People who are exposed to different environmental factors that have been proven to trigger Graves’ disease also have a high susceptibility to this condition. For more information about these environmental factors, read the section on the causes of Graves’ disease.

Q: Is Graves’ disease contagious?

A: No. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that mainly stems from the immune system’s attack on the thyroid gland. It cannot be passed from person to person through physical contact.

Q: Are hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease the same?

A: No. Some sources claim that Graves’ disease is the most common type of hyperthyroidism but in actuality, Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is merely an underlying symptom of Graves’ disease.

Q: Can Graves’ disease go away on its own?

A: No. Early diagnosis and treatment are recommended when dealing with Graves’ disease in order to limit the possibility of contracting serious complications. See the Graves’ treatment page to see the possible choices for treating this condition.

Q: Is Graves’ eye disease reversible?

A: Through surgery, yes. While Graves’ eye disease can improve over time, the exophthalmos (the bulging of the eyes) is usually irreversible without surgery. Conventional treatments for this usually focus only on stopping the continuous inflammation and irritation that this condition brings you.

Ocular decompression is usually done to reverse the bulging of the eyes by removing tissues and bones behind the eyes.3

Q: Can Graves’ disease come back?

A: Yes. There are numerous accounts of Graves’ disease coming back after a stage of remission. This is usually caused by the unprecedented increase in the production of thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin. Due to this, it is important that you have regular check-ups in order to monitor whether you’re still in remission.4

To avoid the recurrence of Graves’ disease, it is recommended that you stop cigarette smoking because studies show that it increases the risk of both contracting the disease and relapsing.


Graves' Disease: Introduction

What Is Graves' Disease?

Graves' Disease Symptoms

Graves' Disease Causes

Graves' Disease Treatment

Graves' Disease Diet

Graves' Disease FAQ

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