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Grave's disease

Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to overactivity in the thyroid glands (hyperthyroidism). The etiopathogenesis consists of a genetic susceptibility that interacts with environmental endogenous factors. The mechanisms involved are unknown and a sole responsible gene has not been found.


The symptoms of hyperthyroidism of Graves disease are frequently the same as those caused by other types of hyperthyroidism. Graves disease is the only type of hyperthyroidism that produces an inflammation of the tissues surrounding the eyes, in addition to its characteristic symptom of eye protrusion. Eye symptoms generally begin some 6 months before, or after, the diagnosis has been made. The severity of the eye problems are related to the severity of the disease. It is not known why, but eye problems are much more frequent in patients who smoke than in non-smokers.

Only rarely do patients with Graves disease develop an irregular reddening and thickening of the skin, called Grave's dermopathy, most often on the shins or the tops of the feet. Skin problems do not necessarily begin at the precise moment the disease begins and their severity is not related to thyroid hormone levels.


Graves disease cannot be totally prevented as this alteration of the thyroid is often conditioned by other origins that cannot be controlled.

Gene or region studied

  • IL23R
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