What is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system produces too many thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins. These antibodies falsely attack healthy thyroid cells instead of a specific pathogen or invader. This leads to the thyroid creating too much thyroid hormone, which results in a state of hyperthyroidism.
Common symptoms of Graves’ disease include:
- Weight loss
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Tremors in the hands or fingers
Learn more about the symptoms of Graves’ disease.
What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
In patients with Hashimoto’s, the immune system incorrectly identifies proteins in the thyroid gland as an invader. This prompts the release of thyroid antibodies in the form of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and antithyroglobulin. These militants attack the thyroid, which causes irreparable damage and inhibits thyroid functionality. As the assault progresses, symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight gain, may develop and continually increase in severity.
Unlike typical hypothyroidism where bodily function slowly degrades, Hashimoto’s can cause temporary increases in thyroid hormone levels. When thyroid antibodies attack the thyroid tissue, the damaged cells release stored thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. Such events cause abrupt hormone spikes that produce symptoms similar to those seen in hyperthyroidism. This is known as Hashitoxicosis and is often accompanied by symptoms such as panic attacks, anxiety, racing heartbeat, sweating, jitteriness, diarrhea, and sudden weight loss.
Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s include:
- Hair loss
- Goiters or swelling of the thyroid
Learn more about the symptoms of Hashitmoto’s.
The Difference Between Graves’ and Hashimoto’s
Both Graves’ and Hashitmoto’s involve problems with the immune system but the difference between these two disorders is how these failings of the immune system impact the thyroid. With Graves’, the immune system produces too many thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins, which then attack the thyroid. In patients with Hashimoto’s, the immune system identifies the thyroid as a whole as foreign, leading to antibodies being produced in order to attack and inhibit the thyroid. Thus, it is important to note that these disorders are similar, but not the same, which is why their symptoms vary.
Learn if it is possible to have both Graves’ and Hashitmoto’s.
Seeking Treatment for Your Thyroid Condition
If you are experiencing symptoms of Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and feel you are not getting the help you need, it may be time to find a different doctor and treatment plan. Locating an effective and knowledgeable thyroid physician can seem daunting and unending, but there is hope!
At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to properly diagnose and treat your condition, optimize your health, and improve your quality of life. Contact us today to see how we can help you!