Graves’ disease is the commonest form of hyperthyroidism in which excessive production of thyroid hormones by the hyperplastic overactive thyroid gland produces elevated serum levels of the thyroid hormones tri-iodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Many of the manifestations of Graves’ disease, increased basal metabolic rate, increased heart rate, heat intolerance, sweating and nervousness, can be attributed to the peripheral actions of the excess thyroid hormones. The pathogenesis of many of the other dramatic features of Graves’ disease, such as the eye involvement or localized skin changes, is not fully understood, but circulating immunoglobulins with thyroid stimulating activity are almost certainly linked to excess thyroid hormone production and thereby cause the hyperthyroidism.

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