September 9, 2011
New support group for Graves’ disease and eye complications to be held October 1 in Ann Arbor
Patients with thyroid disorders will have a chance to meet with medical specialists and each other at the first meeting of a new education and support group in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hosted by the Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation, the meeting takes place on October 1, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the U-M Kellogg Eye Center, 1000 Wall Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Two University of Michigan physicians will give presentations on managing Graves’ disease and related eye complications. Terry J. Smith, M.D., is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology. Raymond S. Douglas, M.D., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Director of the Thyroid Eye Disease Center at the U-M Kellogg Eye Center. The U-M physicians will also talk about their research and the new treatment options likely to emerge over the next few years.
“The symptoms of Graves’ disease can be painful and confusing,” says Dr. Douglas. “When patients have a better understanding of the disease, they can more easily manage both the physical and emotional effects of these thyroid disorders.” The meeting, the first in a quarterly series, is designed to address patient issues and provide peer support for individuals with Graves’ disease. Families and caregivers are welcome to attend.
In Graves’ disease, a defect in the immune system causes antibodies to attack the thyroid gland, often resulting in hyperthyroidism. Patients with hyperthyroidism may experience weight loss, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, fatigue, insomnia, and heat intolerance. Similar antibodies may also attack the skin on the front of the lower leg and the cells behind the eyes. Symptoms of Graves’ eye disease include “bulging” eyes, double vision, and vision loss.