Graves' disease: evolution of the disease and complications

In mild forms of Graves' disease, it can happen that the disease spontaneously regresses without special treatment. In the long term, the risk of relapse is important in the absence of appropriate treatment.

In severe forms of Graves' disease, a "natural" and spontaneous regression of the disease is unlikely. In severe cases, the disease can even lead to life-threatening complications in the absence of appropriate treatment.
Treatment is therefore strongly recommended, regardless of the severity of Graves' disease.

Complications during pregnancy

In pregnant women, Graves' disease carries a certain risk of complications related to pregnancy, and even if the disease is treated or even cured: antithyroid antibodies can indeed circulate in the blood and reach the placenta. These antibodies can stimulate the hormonal production of the thyroid of the unborn child and cause a hyperfunctioning of the thyroid gland in the fetus (fetal hyperthyroidism). This can lead to other complications in the fetus or newborn, such as premature birth, low birth weight, increased risk of mortality during the first week of life, or temporary hyperthyroidism in the newborn. .

Heart problems

If Graves' disease is left untreated, it can cause complications, such as abnormal heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia) or heart failure.

Thyrotoxic crisis

The thyrotoxic crisis is a medical emergency that can have dramatic consequences, even fatal. It is an extreme form of hyperthyroidism where the signs of thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism) are exacerbated, following a kind of "intoxication" to thyroid hormones.

Thyrotoxic crisis can be caused by:

  • poor or untreated hyperthyroidism,
  • excessive intake of thyroid hormone medications,
  • trauma, infection, unbalanced diabetes, pregnancy ...

In response to one of these triggers, the thyroid produces in a very short time large amounts of thyroid hormones. This metabolic imbalance can cause many symptoms such as: high fever, sweating, anxiety and tremors, cardiovascular failure and coma.


Without treatment, Basedow's disease inhibits the storage of calcium in the bones, and may promote osteoporosis (bone demineralization) in the long term.

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