Graves' disease is an auto-immune condition affecting the thyroid gland in the neck. The body’s immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid tissue, leading to the thyroid becoming overactive. Symptoms include racing heart, sweating, weight loss, irritability, fatigue and sleep loss.
People who have had Graves' disease for long periods can develop bulging eyes, or exophthalmos. It is also possible to get a goitre, which is a swollen thyroid gland visible to others. Treatments involve reducing the activity of the gland with medicines, and sometimes surgery.
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Last reviewed: August 2014