The immune system is vital. It protects the body from diseases by fighting off pathogens. When a person faces problems with their immune system, it can overproduce antibodies and send the body into overdrive. The system mistakes healthy tissues for invaders and begins attacking healthy tissues. The causes and triggers of autoimmune diseases are largely unknown, though millions of Americans live with them every day.
Graves disease is a common autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. The condition occurs when the immune system produces antibodies that overstimulate the gland, prompting it to release excessive amounts of thyroid hormones into the blood, which causes hyperthyroidism. The symptoms of Graves' disease include tremors, sweating, rapid heart rate, and weight loss. Another common sign of Graves' disease is protruding eyes. Medications can treat Graves' disease, and some people have their thyroid gland removed.
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