Complications of Graves' disease can include the following:

  • Pregnancy complications. Possible complications of Graves' disease during pregnancy include preterm birth, fetal thyroid dysfunction, poor fetal growth and preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a maternal condition that results in high blood pressure and elevated protein in urine.
  • Heart disorders. If left untreated, Graves' disease can lead to heart rhythm disorders, changes in the structure and function of the heart muscles, and the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to the body (congestive heart failure).
  • Thyroid storm. A rare, but life-threatening complication of Graves' disease is thyroid storm, also known as accelerated hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxic crisis. It's more likely when severe hyperthyroidism is untreated or treated inadequately. The sudden and drastic increase in thyroid hormones can produce a number of effects, including fever, profuse sweating, confusion, delirium, severe weakness, tremors, markedly irregular heartbeat, severe low blood pressure and coma. Thyroid storm requires immediate emergency care.
  • Brittle bones. Untreated hyperthyroidism can also lead to weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis). The strength of your bones depends, in part, on the amount of calcium and other minerals they contain. Too much thyroid hormone interferes with your body's ability to incorporate calcium into your bones.
Jul. 07, 2011