Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid, causing the thyroid to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. It affects about 2-3% of the population or approximately 10 million people. It is not gender specific, however it is between 5-10 times more common in women. The onset of the disease usually occurs in middle age, but can occur at other times in life.
If left untreated Graves Disease, which is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, can lead to more serious complications. Most people suffering with the disease also have and increased heart rate, which could lead to cardiovascular damage. Also it is common for those with the disease to have bulging eyes, a side effect that can lead to infections of the cornea or even blindness. In summary if Graves Disease is not treated properly it can lead to disability or even death.
Grammy award winning Hip-Hop star Missy Elliot is featured in People magazine talking about how she is coping with Graves Disease. Diagnosed back in 2008 she has been away from the music scene dealing with the side effects of the disease including dizzy spells, mood swings, hair loss and decreased motor skills. She has undergone radiation treatment on the thyroid and after a course of medication she seems to be doing much better now and is off medication. There is not a cure for Graves Disease, however with treatment and proper monitoring by a physician one can live a normal life.