Graves Disease and Type 1 Diabetes







Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that people with type 1 diabetes have a higher chance of developing. It seems to occur more in women than in men. People younger than age 40 are more known to develop this related type 1 diabetes complication. There is also genetic factors involved.

This toxic diffuse goiter that is known as Graves disease, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism will occur when the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than your body needs.

As previously stated in my last article, the thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland that is found in front of the neck. It is right below your larynx. Your thyroid gland produces two hormones which are triiodothyronine,(T3), and thyroxine, (T4). These glands drastically control the body metabolism, brain development, control body temperatures, muscle strength, dryness of your skin, the menstural cycles, weight and cholesterol levels.

Production of the thyroid hormone is regulated by the thyroid stimulating hormone. This is controlled through the pituitary gland in the brain.



Graves disease, since it is an autoimmune disorder will act against its own healthy cells and tissues. In this thyroid disease, the immune system will produce antibodies called thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin, which attach to thyroid cells. The TSI copies the actions of TSH and stimulates the thyroid hormone to make much more of the thyroid hormone then really is needed.

Diagnosing this disorder is often performed by an endocrinoligist. This doctor is a specialist that works in diabetes and diabetes related problems, especially when they become very complex to deal with.

A blood test will definitely confirm the diagnosis along with an examination. The TSH test is the first lab test done along with a radioactive iodine uptake test. The radiactive iodine test will measure the amount of iodine that the thyroid collects from the bloodstream as a whole. If the levels are high, this can point to Graves disease.

Another test called a thyroid scan shows doctors how and where iodine shows up throughout the gland.

Graves disease is often treated in one of three ways. There is radioactive therapy, antithyroid drugs, or else the least opted for is thyroid surgery.

With radioactive therapy treatment, you have to take a radioactive iodine-131 orally. The thyroid gland will collect this iodine from your blood the same way. This iodine-131 will destroy cells around the thyroid gland. A lot of endocrinoligists will use a large enough dosage of this drug to shut down your thyroid gland totally. This treatment takes a long time to work and people may not notice improvement in symptoms for many weeks or months.

Beta blockers are another alternative treatment to reduce symptoms until other treatments take effect. Beta blocking drugs alleviate many of the symptoms such as rapid heart beat and anxiety.

There are also two different antithyroid drugs which are methimazole and propylthiouracil. These two medications will counteract the way your thyroid is incorrectly using iodine to make hormones. The drugs don't work forever though, from what I have read, and requires frequent bloodwork monitoring.

Pregnant and women who are nursing cannot take radioactive iodine therapies. An antithyroid drug is best used in this case and monitored carefully. The smallest amounts are usually given since it is passed on to the baby very quickly.

Thyroid surgery as I said, is the last resort and no doctor will do this unless absolutely necessary. This usually means removeal of the thyroid gland altogether. This option is also used in thyroid cancer treatment. Graves disease will not cause cancer.

Your eyes and this thyroid complication go together. Eye drops will often help relieve the dry itchy eyes. If you have pain and swelling with your eyes as well, steroid pills may help you. Prednisone will suppress the immune response, thus providing relief. You may also need special glasses that help you with light sensitivity and also double vision problems. Sleeping with your head elevated may also reduce eyelid swelling.



Graves disease, since it is an autoimmune disorder will act against its own healthy cells and tissues. In this thyroid disease, the immune system will produce antibodies called thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin, which attach to thyroid cells. The TSI copies the actions of TSH and stimulates the thyroid hormone to make much more of the thyroid hormone then really is needed.

Diagnosing this disorder is often performed by an endocrinoligist. This doctor is a specialist that works in diabetes and diabetes related problems, especially when they become very complex to deal with.

A blood test will definitely confirm the diagnosis along with an examination. The TSH test is the first lab test done along with a radioactive iodine uptake test. The radiactive iodine test will measure the amount of iodine that the thyroid collects from the bloodstream as a whole. If the levels are high, this can point to Graves disease.

Another test called a thyroid scan shows doctors how and where iodine shows up throughout the gland.

Graves disease is often treated in one of three ways. There is radioactive therapy, antithyroid drugs, or else the least opted for is thyroid surgery.

With radioactive therapy treatment, you have to take a radioactive iodine-131 orally. The thyroid gland will collect this iodine from your blood the same way. This iodine-131 will destroy cells around the thyroid gland. A lot of endocrinoligists will use a large enough dosage of this drug to shut down your thyroid gland totally. This treatment takes a long time to work and people may not notice improvement in symptoms for many weeks or months.

Beta blockers are another alternative treatment to reduce symptoms until other treatments take effect. Beta blocking drugs alleviate many of the symptoms such as rapid heart beat and anxiety.

There are also two different antithyroid drugs which are methimazole and propylthiouracil. These two medications will counteract the way your thyroid is incorrectly using iodine to make hormones. The drugs don't work forever though, from what I have read, and requires frequent bloodwork monitoring.

Pregnant and women who are nursing cannot take radioactive iodine therapies. An antithyroid drug is best used in this case and monitored carefully. The smallest amounts are usually given

If your eye problems are really severe because of this thyroid problem, your medical team may opt for external radiation that is applied to the eyes. This often helps to reduce inflammation problems you are having. The treatments may not benefit you right away, but it is known that many people start feeling better with their eye problems as soon as 6 weeks after treatments.

If there is too much pressure to the optic nerve, surgery may be chosen. The surgery can help with the protrusion of the eyes, also helping vision. This is called orbital decompression. It makes the eye socket bigger so that your eye has more room to go back into the normal position it should be in.

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