Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disorder where the thyroid gland in your body produces an exorbitant amount of thyroid. This is one of the most common and popular forms of hyperthyroidism. The excessive amount of production of thyroid hormone is caused due to the production of thyroid-stimulating proteins called immunoglobulins produced by your immune system.
These immunoglobulins attach themselves to the healthy thyroid cells and cause them to increase the production of thyroid hormones. Any imbalance in the thyroid hormone can cause problems in various parts of your bodily functions including the nervous system, cognitive function, normal body temperature and can even lead to something called graves’ disease headaches.
What are the causes of Graves’ Disease?
Under normal conditions, your immune system produces antibodies that help in fighting off foreign particles or bacteria. They are specifically designed in a way to combat the virus or disease in the body.
However, as mentioned earlier, Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder wherein your body fights the healthy cells in your body. The immunoglobulins which are produced by the immune system in your body fight off the healthy and functioning cells in your body instead of the bacteria and virus.
What are the symptoms of Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease often causes hand tremors, weight loss, a spike in the heart rate, heat intolerance, fatigue, weakness in the muscles, insomnia, etc. More often than not, Graves’ disease can even cause reddening of the skin, which is also called Graves’ dermopathy.
Apart from Graves’ dermopathy, people also experience Graves Ophthalmopathy, which causes your eyes to enlarge and bulge out from your eye sockets due to the retraction of your eyelids.
In addition to Graves’ dermopathy and ophthalmopathy, this form of hyperthyroidism is also known to cause severe headaches. Under extreme conditions, it also causes migraine.
What are Graves’ Disease headaches?
As mentioned earlier, hyperthyroidism is the exorbitant production of thyroid hormones in your body which can cause a lot of imbalance in bodily functions. More often than not, Graves’ disease is often caused to trigger metabolism malfunctions which can give rise to extreme weight gain or weight loss.
Secondly, it can even cause cognitive disabilities which might give rise to anxiety and depression. However, apart from these symptoms, one of the most common symptoms of Graves’ disease is headaches, as mentioned earlier.
Be that as it may, more concrete research is required in this area as health experts are dubious whether hyperthyroidism is the cause or consequence of headaches.
Who is more prone to suffer from Graves’ Disease headaches?
As per the research conducted by the Society For Endocrinology, women are 18 percent more susceptible to suffer from hyperthyroidism than men. In addition to this, the former group is 3 percent as likely to suffer from migraines induced by hyperthyroidism than men, according to the research conducted by John Hopkins University.
More often than not, certain researchers have also considered menopause as one of the underlying reasons for headaches apart from hyperthyroidism. This is most common among women who are aged above 60.
According to several types of research, it was revealed that if a person is suffering from headaches and migraines for a long period in life, he or she might suffer from hyperthyroidism in the future.
Graves’ Disease and headache treatment
- One of the best ways to get rid of thyroid-induced headaches is to permanently replace the thyroid hormone in the form of levothyroxine. Levothyroxine is also known as L-thyroxine which helps in the treatment of thyroid deficiency and related tumors.
This type of treatment helps in curing certain symptoms of Graves’ disease. In a majority of cases, people suffering from hyperthyroidism and related headaches have mentioned the improvement in their condition through levothyroxine.
However, some people have also reported that the headaches continue even after the therapy. This makes one question whether the headaches were induced by hyperthyroidism in the first place or not.
- Be that as it may, different people might experience different effects of using levothyroxine in their bodies. According to a study published in 2016, it was revealed that patients who suffered from hyperthyroidism in some or the other way, did experience an increase in headaches after the levothyroxine treatment.
The spike in headaches after going through levothyroxine treatment is considered to be one of its common side effects. It is believed that people who are suffering from moderate to severe hypothyroidism would naturally require a higher dose of levothyroxine which might aggravate the headache.
Be that as it may, these headaches only last for the ephemeral period, and gradually, with the thyroid hormone-producing in required proportion, it will be reduced.
However, these results are not universal. They vary from person to person, based on their immune systems. As mentioned earlier, it might aggravate the situation of headaches. Not only that, but certain research also implies that the condition of migraine or severe headache might not even improve and could even make things for the person.
- Apart from L-thyroxine, Graves’ disease can also be treated with an antithyroid drug called methimazole which helps to prevent the formation of thyroid hormones. Another anti-thyroid drug, apart from methimazole, includes propylthiouracil which also helps in reducing the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and headaches.
- Radioactive iodine is also sometimes used as one of the ways to treat Graves’ disease and bring an end to the severe headaches caused by it. One of the ways to use radioactive iodine is to consume in high doses, as recommended by specialists, to completely stop the production of thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland.
This means that you would have to consume the thyroid medication for the rest of your life. However, the risky part is that the ones who have received the radioactive iodine therapy, have a minuscule amount of radiation stored in their thyroid. Therefore, they are not advised to go near pregnant women and children, especially a few days after the treatment.
These are some of the ways to treat Graves’ disease headaches, however, it is best to concern your doctor first, because these treatments render different results based upon different people.