There are some similarities between Hashimoto’s disease and Graves’ disease. Both conditions
are auto-immune disorders and both can cause the symptoms related to hyperthyroidism. While
someone with Hashimoto’s disease will experience bouts of hypothyroid symptoms with bouts of
hyperthyoid symptoms, a patient with Graves’ disease will consistently have the symptoms related
to hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of Graves’ Disease
The symptoms of Graves’ disease reflect the production of too much thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism slows the body’s metabolism while hyperthyroidism speeds it up. This results in symptoms ranging from having difficulty sleeping to unwanted weight loss and bulging eyes. While hypothyroidism can cause the fingers and hands to feel cold, Graves’ disease causes a sensitivity to heat. Graves’ disease can cause what has been described as a “racing” heart ( Our patient, Carol Clark, refers to this symptom in her video on the HOME page) and the heartbeat may feel irregular, also known as palpitation.
Someone with Graves’ disease may display a fine tremor of the hands or fingers. They may also experience warm, clammy skin or increased perspiration. Diarrhea is a common complaint along with frequent bowel movements.
There are symptoms that are shared by both sufferers of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. These include fatigue, changes in menstrual cycles, and reduced libido.
There are some overt symptoms of Graves’ disease that are peculiar to this condition. Rarely, some people develop Graves’ dermopathy which is characterized by thick, red patches of skin usually on the legs and tops of the feet. There is also Graves’ opthalmopathy which causes bulging eyes, dry/red eyes, excessive tearing, a fixed stare, puffy eyelids, pressure or pain around the eyes, light sensitivity, and double vision. More rare symptoms and signs include blurry vision and corneal ulcers.