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Graves Disease


Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your thyroid gland. This causes your body to make too much thyroid hormone and leads to hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that is found in the front part of your neck. Thyroid hormones regulate body temperature, heart rate, and weight.


Call 911 or have someone call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You feel like you are going to faint.
  • You have sudden chest pain or shortness of breath.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have trouble thinking clearly.
  • You are shaking or sweating.
  • Your heart is beating faster than usual, or you have an irregular heartbeat.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • You feel nervous, restless, confused or agitated. .
  • You run out of thyroid medicine, or you have stopped taking it.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Antithyroid medicines decrease thyroid hormone levels and your symptoms.
  • Radioactive iodine is given to damage or kill some thyroid gland cells. This may decrease the amount of thyroid hormone produced. Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding, or you know or think you are pregnant. This medicine can be harmful to your baby.
  • Heart medicine may be given to control and regulate your heart rate.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage Graves disease:

  • Do not smoke or be around secondhand smoke. Cigarette smoke increases your risk of GO or can make it worse if you already have it. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can also cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Sleep with your head elevated if you have eye symptoms. This may help to decrease swelling of your eyelids. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you sleep with your eyes taped shut. This can help prevent dry eyes.
  • Sunglasses may help to decrease light sensitivity.
  • Take medicine as directed and go to follow-up appointments. Do not stop taking your medicine unless your healthcare provider has asked you to. This could increase your thyroid levels and lead to other health problems. You will need regular follow-up appointments to have your thyroid levels checked.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for regular blood tests to check your thyroid hormone levels. This will help your healthcare provider decide if you are getting the right amount of medicine. Do not stop taking your medicines without talking to your healthcare provider first. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.