So dammit, I wanna be helpful!
Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder where misplaced attacks from the immune system cause the thyroid gland to become overactive. The result, known as hyperthyroidism, causes the thyroid to produce an excessive amount of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. Too much thyroxine can affect metabolism, which can then go on to affect brain development, heart and nervous system functions, body temperature, muscle strength, weight and cholesterol levels.
That's the internet's way to explain it, and I don't know if it's correct. From my point of view - This bugger is responsible for my entire body functioning improperly. My current symptoms are heart palpitations, hot flashes, constant nutbar heart rate, insomnia, mood swings, random rage (rawr!), difficulty breathing, muscle issues, inexplicable weight fluctuations, extra anxiety, etc, etc... unfortunately, Graves' Disease can also affect the eyes, from minor pain and discomfort to major bulging. And nothing can be done about that. It's a waiting game, and patience is a virtue that I lack.
Soon I'll be on medication that may or may not work. There's a pretty big chance that I'll have the thyroid removed and take further meds to make up for what the the thyroid can no longer do.
It's kinda like Bill Nye is doing an awesome science experiment on me, but without the awesomeness. Ok, minor awesomeness because medical science is still pretty impressive. I'll admit that.
My point? Most people don't ever think about the thyroid. Especially not girls my age. Because of genetics, I knew I might have some thyroid trouble down the road, but I didn't understand it and didn't think about it much. I used to have a horrible doctor who wouldn't check anything, never mind sending me for simple bloodwork. Because of that doctor who constantly misdiagnosed me without tests, there were a lot of things I missed. Until this summer, I had no idea that I have scoliosis, restricted lungs, or a tumor on my kidney (angiomyolipoma). I didn't know that I had symptoms of Graves' Disease or hyperthyroidism because it's not something I knew to think about.
My doctor sucked. She truly did. But it was also my fault for not finding a new one and getting the proper care. So please, do that. See your doctors, get all the tests (even the uncomfortable ones. "You wanna put that WHERE?!"), and be healthy. And ask your doc about checking for thyroid issues - especially if you're a woman over 20.
I apologize for these BS self-help posts, but we'll soon return to our regularly scheduled programming. Your Shambled & Rambled Public Service Announcement has concluded.
Go about your day, my children.