Although anyone can develop Graves' disease, a number of factors can increase the risk of disease. These risk factors include the following:

  • Family history. Because a family history of Graves' disease is a known risk factor, there is likely a gene or genes that can make a person more susceptible to the disorder.
  • Gender. Women are much more likely to develop Graves' disease than are men.
  • Age. Graves' disease usually develops in people younger than 40.
  • Other autoimmune disorders. People with other disorders of the immune system, such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, have an increased risk.
  • Emotional or physical stress. Stressful life events or illness may act as a trigger for the onset of Graves' disease among people who are genetically susceptible.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnancy or recent childbirth may increase the risk of the disorder, particularly among women who are genetically susceptible.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking, which can affect the immune system, increases the risk of Graves' disease. Smokers who have Graves' disease are also at increased risk of developing Graves' ophthalmopathy.
Jul. 01, 2014

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