Graves' Disease Symptoms
Graves' disease can manifest itself in a number of ways. In fact, some people may not even have symptoms. Some of the more common signs include fatigue, muscle weakness, and weight loss. Graves' ophthalmopathy (when Graves' disease symptoms and signs cause bulging eyes or other eye symptoms) and pretibial myxedema (when the skin becomes thick, swollen, and scaly) are also possible.
Graves' disease is a condition that can affect the thyroid gland, the eyes, and, less commonly, the skin. Signs or symptoms of Graves' disease can be quite different from person to person. In fact, some people may have no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
Thyroid hormones play a role in the normal functioning of many different parts of the body, including the skin, blood, heart and blood vessels, the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the digestive system.
When Graves' disease affects the thyroid gland, it can cause it to produce too much thyroid hormone (known medically as hyperthyroidism). This can lead to any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Nervousness or irritability
- Muscle weakness (in particular, the upper arms and thighs, making it difficult to lift heavy items or climb stairs)
- Hand tremors
- Rapid heart rate
- Heart palpitations
- Irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation)
- Intolerance for heat
- Increased sweating
- Weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite, although some people with an overactive thyroid gain weight due to the increased appetite
- Thinning hair
- A goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid that may cause the neck to look swollen.
Other symptoms can include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Frequent bowel movements
- An overactive bladder
- Lighter or no menstrual flow
- Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
- Enlarged or tender breasts in men (gynecomastia)
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased ability to exercise.