Wendy Williams shines light on Graves’ disease
Wendy Williams, host of “The Wendy Williams Show,” recently announced she has been diagnosed with Graves’ disease and will be taking some time off from work to focus on her health.
“The thyroid is an endocrine gland in the neck that produces thyroid hormone, which affects metabolic rate and protein synthesis,” says Dr. Jenny Ukena, an endocrinologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “It is also important in development, and the thyroid can be affected by multiple diseases causing it to be overactive or underactive.”
When the thyroid is overactive, which is called hyperthyroidism, Dr. Ukena says it can increase your risk for heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation as well as lead to osteoporosis. For this reason, it’s important for the condition to be treated by a physician.
“The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are unintentional weight loss, feeling like your heart is racing (palpitations), heat intolerance and diarrhea,” says Dr. Ukena. “Some patients have changes in their skin and hair, including hair loss. Grave’s disease can also rarely involve the eyes.”
Dr. Ukena recommends making an appointment with a physician if you have any of the above symptoms and they are not explained by an already-known medical condition. The doctor can evaluate your thyroid function by doing a blood test.
“Grave’s disease is very treatable,” says Dr. Ukena. “Usually, the first-line therapy is a medication to decrease thyroid hormone. Other patients may require treatment with iodine or surgery.”
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