Former First Lady Barbara Bush was discharged from a Houston hospital today. She was admitted 4 days ago for what was called “routine testing” after the First Lady claimed that she was not feeling well lately. Doctors believe that Mrs. Bush was having a mild relapse of her Graves Disease, a thyroid condition she was first treated for in1989. Treatment will only require an adjustment in her medications.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone. It makes hormones that regulate regulates heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. The thyroid gland contains mainly 2 types of cells — thyroid follicular cells and C cells (also called parafollicular cells).
The follicular cells use iodine from the blood to make thyroid hormone, which helps regulate a person’s metabolism. Too much thyroid hormone (a condition called hyperthyroidism) can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, trouble sleeping, nervousness, hunger, weight loss, and a feeling of being too warm. Too little hormone (called hypothyroidism) causes a person to slow down, feel tired, and gain weight.
Thyroid hormone production is regulated by another hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is made by the pituitary gland located in the brain.
What is Graves Disease?
Graves’ disease, also known as toxic diffuse goiter, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. Hyperthyroidism is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than the body needs. About 1 percent of the U.S. population has hyperthyroidism, with women being much more likely to develop hyperthyroidism than men.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the body’s immune system acts against its own healthy cells and tissues. In Graves’ disease, the immune system makes antibodies called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) that attach to thyroid cells. TSI mimics the action of TSH and stimulates the thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone.
What are the symptoms of Graves Disease?
People with Graves’ disease may have some of the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism such as
Grave’s ophthalmopathy (GO) occurs when cells from the immune system attack the muscles and other tissues around the eyes. The result is inflammation and a buildup in tissue and fat behind the eye socket, causing the eyeballs to bulge.
Other symptoms of GO include
How is Graves’ disease treated?
Doctors may prescribe one or more of the three treatment options:
Source: National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service
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