Thyrotoxic Goiter - Graves' Disease
This page was last updated on: October 4, 2014
Diffuse thyrotoxic goiter, Exophthalmic Goiter
(Graves' Disease or Basedow's Disease)

Graves' disease occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland and causes it to overproduce a hormone called thyroxine. This abnormal immune response can also affect the tissue behind the eyes as well as the skin.  Because thyroxine regulates the cell's metabolism, an excess of this hormone in the bloodstream can increase the basal metabolic rate by 60 to 100 %.

Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It usually affects women in their twenties, but the disorder may occur at any age and may affect men as well. The female to male ratio is 8:1.   In the USA, the incidence is about 5 in 10,000 people.

Exophthalmos (Protruding eyes)
Weight loss
Increased appetite
Tachycardia, irregular heart beat and palpitations
Heat intolerance
Increased sweating
Muscle weakness
Double vision
Eye irritation
Breast enlargement in men (possible)
Frequent bowel movements
Menstrual irregularities in women
Goiter (possible)
Biographical Notes

Robert James Graves (1795-1853). Irish physician.

Graves RJ. Newly observed affection of the thyroid gland in females. From the clinical lectures delivered by Robert J. Graves, MD, at the Meath Hospital, during the session of 1834-35. London Medical and Surgical Journal 1835; 7:516-517.

Carl Adolph von Basedow (1799-1854).  German physician.

von Basedow CA. Exophthalmos durch hypertrophie des zellgewebes in der augenhohle. Wochenschrift fur die gessamte heilkunde, Berlin, March 28, 1840, pp 197-204
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