Graves’ Disease

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that most commonly affects the thyroid. Graves’ Disease causes the thyroid to grow to twice its size or more (goiter), be overactive, with related hyperthyroid symptoms such as increased heartbeat, muscle weakness, disturbed sleep, and irritability. It can also affect the eyes, causing bulging eyes (exophthalmos).

Idaho Eyelid and Facial Plastic Surgery sees many patients with Graves’ Disease in Boise, Idaho. Our Practice has the experience and know how to provide patients the best care for their medical issues related to this significant thyroid problem.

Graves Disease Before and After
Graves Disease Before and After

Our physicians have experience treating patients affected by Graves’ disease.

Graves’ Disease affects other systems of the body, including the skin and reproductive organs. It affects up to 2% of the female population, often appears after childbirth, and has a female:male incidence of 5:1 to 10:1. It has a strong hereditary component; when one identical twin has Graves’ disease, the other twin will have it 25% of the time.

Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke is associated with the eye manifestations but not the thyroid manifestations. Diagnosis is usually made on the basis of symptoms, although thyroid hormone tests can be useful.

What Is A Thyroid?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland below the Adam’s apple and one of the largest endocrine glands in the body. This gland is found in the neck below the thyroid cartilage (may also be called the Adam’s apple in men) and at approximately the same level as the cricoid cartilage. The thyroid controls how quickly the body burns energy, makes proteins, and how sensitive the body should be to other hormones. The thyroid gland t is controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary. The gland gets its name from the Greek word for “shield”, after the shape of the related thyroid cartilage. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) are the most common problems of the thyroid gland.

What Does the Thyroid Do?

The thyroid controls the body’s metabolism by regulating thyroid hormones (T4 and T3). This controls the body’s metabolic rate, growth and development. Moreover, it helps regulate the heart, brain development, bone maintenance, and muscle and digestive function. The thyroid hormones impact every cell in your body, and regulates the rate the body uses carbohydrates and fats.

When Something Goes Wrong…

If the thyroid gland produces too much hormone we term the condition hyperthyroidism; if the gland makes too little, we call this hypothyroidism.

  • Hyperthyroidism occurs when there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood (“hyper” means “too much”, “hypo” means “too low”). It is 10 times more common in women and affects about 2% of all women in the United States.
  • Hypothyroidism occurs when there is too little thyroid hormone in the blood and affects more than 5 million people. It is 10 times more common in women than in men and impacts one out of every 4,000 infants.

What Is Graves?

Graves’ disease is a condition in which the thyroid gland is hyperactive and the eyes are affected. Although Graves’ disease could develop at any age and in either sex, it most often affects women 20 to 60 years old. When Graves’ disease affects the eyes, it is called Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Eyes could bulge or appear red and swollen. The space between the lids (palpebral fissure) could widen. Excess tearing and discomfort could occur in either or both eyes. Patients could experience sensitivity to light, blurring or double vision, inflammation, or decreased movement.

I was diagnosed a few years ago with Graves’ disease and have been very self-conscious about my appearance. I saw Dr. Boerner for this condition. I had eyelid retraction surgeries done and my stitches were in for a very short time. I am excited about the results! I can wear makeup now when I couldn’t before. I just love Dr. Boerner, I trust him and thinks he’s a wonderful doctor. I feel more confident about my appearance. Five stars to Idaho Eyelid and Facial Plastic Surgery!

by Kathy S.


Hyperthyroidism symptoms may include:

  • fast heart rate
  • eyes could bulge forward
  • nervousness
  • increased sweating
  • muscle weakness
  • trembling hands
  • weight loss
  • skin changes
  • increased frequency of bowel movements
  • decreased menstrual flow and less frequent menstrual flow

Hypothyroidism symptoms may include:

  • feeling slow or tired
  • drowsiness
  • poor memory
  • muscle cramps
  • dry and course skin
  • milky discharge from the brests
  • husky voice
  • feeling cold
  • slow heart rate
  • difficulty concentrating
  • weight gain
  • heavy menstrual flow
  • infertility
  • feeling depressed


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