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Causes and risk factors of Graves’ disease

Women are 7 to 8 times more likely to develop Graves’ disease than men. Photo: Pexels

(Lindsay Curtis/ Very Well Health) — Graves’ disease is the most common cause of an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). The condition is thought to be caused by genetic, environmental, and other factors.

Learn more about the causes and risk factors of Graves’ disease.

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. When a person has Graves’ disease, the immune system produces an abnormal antibody known as thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI).

TSI stimulates the thyroid gland by mimicking the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) produced in the pituitary gland. The thyroid gland then produces excess thyroid hormone, leading to hyperthyroidism.

A combination of genetic and environmental risk factors is believed to cause Graves’ disease. Certain lifestyle habits also contribute to the development of the disease. (…)