Women in Arizona and across the nation are at a much higher risk for developing Graves' disease than men. The autoimmune disease affects women at 10 times the rate that it affects men, and pregnancy is believed to be a possible trigger for the disease. Around 30 percent of women who get Graves' disease during young adulthood were pregnant at some point in the preceding 12 months before diagnosis.
Graves' disease causes a person to have an overactive thyroid, which speeds up all body functions including heart rate and metabolism. Like other diseases that cause an overactive thyroid, symptoms of Graves' disease include rapid heartbeat, fatigue, weight loss, hand tremors and irritability. Symptoms that are unique to Graves' disease include bulging eyes and red, thick skin.
A person with undiagnosed Graves' disease usually has some noticeable symptoms that are giving them cause for concern. A doctor may perform a thyroid function test, a radioactive iodine uptake test or an antibody test on a patient with Graves' disease symptoms. If Graves' disease is detected, the doctor will usually prescribe a medication that helps the patient's thyroid to make less thyroid hormone. In some cases, a patient will have their thyroid removed in surgery and then they will take thyroid hormone replacement.
A pregnant woman who develops an overactive thyroid may experience symptoms that appear to be normal side effects of pregnancy. If an overactive thyroid is not diagnosed and treated during pregnancy, the pregnancy could be at risk for complications. A woman who believes that her pregnancy-related injuries were the result of undiagnosed Graves' disease might want to speak to a lawyer about filing a medical malpractice claim.