By Danielle Macdonald
Graves' Disease is an all-encompassing autoimmune disorder. It affects so much within our bodies, and our minds. It steals everything from you, and does not offer much in return.
For any autoimmune disease it can take years to be diagnosed. For myself, it took roughly one year of going to multiple doctors to finally have an answer. I have heard from many others sufferers that waited much longer to be diagnosed. If you google the symptoms of Graves' Disease you are given a wide range of symptoms, that can easily be mistaken for other issues. I'm here today to provide a list of 5 key symptoms.
1) Anxiety, anxiety, and more anxiety- for me this was the biggest symptom. Graves' Disease causes an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) which in turn makes your body overproduce thyroid stimulating hormone. So... your body is freaking the f**k out and is trying to tell you something is wrong. Anytime someone tells me they are starting to randomly experience anxiety, my first reaction is to tell them to get blood work done for their TSH.
2) Weight Loss- this symptom can actually be different for everyone. Some people may have hyperthyroidism or Graves' Disease and still gain weight. For me losing weight was another key symptom. I was already a smaller frame but I went from a healthy 110 to 95 pounds. Depending on the progress of your disease- you may lose weight slowly over time, or lose a lot of weight in a short period of time.
3) Hot, so freaking hot- Graves' Disease affects everything. Including your internal thermostat. My body was no longer capable of cooling itself off. You may sweat more easily, have cool moist skin, and just overall feel increased temperature. The summer time was pure hell for me, it made me sweat more, I was cranky, and it made me lose weight faster.
4) Fast heart rate- This was my worst symptom along with anxiety. Since your body is in overdrive and producing so much thyroid hormone, it causes your heart rate to increase. You may experience heart palpitations, higher resting heart rate. I remember sitting in the hospital with a blood pressure of 160/90 and a heart rate of 175. I was terrified. I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. My resting heart rate was never lower than 110, and standing up or moving would cause it to easily get to 150/160.
5) So angry- There is a term used to describe the anger you feel when you have Graves' Disease. It is called Graves' Rage. I mean why wouldn't you feel rage? You are hot and sweaty, full of anxiety, have thumper for a heart rate, and can't stop using the bathroom every 10 minutes, so yeah you are pissed. Graves' Rage can cause so much emotional harm to you or your loved ones. I ruined a few friendships when I was still unmedicated for my thyroid. I honestly felt like a shell of a person. When I look back at who I was before medicated, I actually cringe. Graves' Rage is not your fault, and once you are stable it will get easier.
This will help your body to start the long journey in healing and getting to your healthiest self. You may never return to your old self. Your life will be forever changed, but you can regain a sense of who you are now. This will be a long and hard road, but I promise you will see the light again one day!
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Latest posts by Danielle Macdonald (see all)
- Graves’ Disease Symptoms and How I Took Control of My Health - March 18, 2020