G is for …..

Graves disease, this has been a big part of my life for almost 6 years. Graves disease is an auto-immune thyroid disorder.

I had been attending the GP for a number is issues but when my usual doctor wasn’t available I was asked if I objected to a student doctor assessing me, I was fine with this and after an hour and quarter in the surgery, blood tests and seeing a second GP I was referred to an endocrine consultant for follow up tests.

I was one of the lucky ones, as Graves disease causes excessive hormones which speed up metabolism causing excessive weight loss. Sounds good doesn’t it, but it also causes excessive sweating, trembling, increased pounding heart rate, sleeplessness and tiredness. I felt like I was going crazy, I was exhausted but not sleeping. I didn’t eat without first taking a handful of tablets or being very close to a toilet. I felt panicky and stressed all the time. It was horrible.

It also causes thyroid eye disease, which cause the muscles to swell and become inflamed. The eyes become excessively dry and itchy, they bulge and if left untreated for too long can cause double vision and partial blindness.

Thankfully I was diagnosed at an early stage and responded really well to medication so had minimal eye problems and after being medically controlled for 5 years I came off all my medication at the end of last year and had corrective surgery on my left eye to lower my eyelid. So far it’s all gone well and my body is maintaining the correct thyroid levels and apart from one bout of conjunctivitis, thanks to hives, my eyes have also been very settled.

Later this year I am hoping to be discharged from the consultant but will continue to have regular blood tests to ensure my thyroid continues to behave itself.

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