Untreated Grave's disease leads to a three times increase in the risk of death from fractures related to osteoporosis and a 1.3 times increase in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease or stroke, according to Patient.co.uk. Even with treatment, patients suffer greater rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke deaths.
Grave's disease is an autoimmune disease and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, an overabundance of thyroid hormone in the body, says Patient.co.uk. It is associated with a higher risk of other autoimmune diseases, such as pernicious anemia and Type 1 diabetes. It is caused by the body's immune system attacking various parts of the thyroid gland. The thyroid often swells in response to form a small, firm goiter. The likelihood of getting Grave's disease is affected by a person's genetics. Other factors that increase risk include smoking, a diet high in iodine and trauma to the thyroid gland.
Grave's disease can cause a patient's eyes to bulge to the point that vision may be impaired, according to Patient.co.uk. It can also cause abnormal skin growth, including in the hands, where it can cause the fingers to swell painfully. Hyperthyroidism in general causes weight loss, increased appetite, irritability, weakness and fatigue. Diarrhea, sweating and tremor are additional symptoms.