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"Could I still have Graves disease even if my blood test doesn't show it?"
I had a blood test to check for Graves disease. My doctor said they check the level of certain chemicals, but mine are all normal. Could I still have it even if my blood is normal? I seem to have all of the symptoms, so what else could it be?
Grave's disease, as your doctor probably told you, is an autoimmune condition in which the body's own immune cells attack the thyroid gland, stimulating its activity in the process. This leads to symptoms of hyperthyroidism, caused by high blood levels of thyroid hormones. Symptoms include nervousness, palpitations, sweating, weight loss, and changes in the hair and skin. Grave's disease is usually diagnosed by checking the levels of thyroid activity in the blood as well as by looking for markers of immune activity in the blood against the thyroid gland. If these tests were all normal in your case, you don't have to worry right now. However, sometimes the symptoms are caught early on before the thyroid activity is very high. Therefore, if the symptoms continue to be bothersome for several more months, repeating the blood work might be necessary, to see if overt Grave's disease has developed in the interim. Meanwhile, you may want to work with your primary care doctor to figure out if there is another potential cause of your symptoms. Anxiety, for example, can often mimic Grave's disease. In older women, menopause symptoms are often confused with thyroid problems. Your doctor will work with you to figure things out.
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