Health A-Z

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Graves' disease cannot be prevented. And usually, the associated eye disease cannot be prevented. However, medical evidence now suggests that treatment of the overactive thyroid gland with radiation therapy is more likely to worsen the eye disease. Treatment with anti-thyroid drugs or surgery does not affect the course of eye disease.

If radiation of the thyroid must be done, some studies suggest that patients with hyperthyroidism from Graves' disease who are given a corticosteroid drug (prednisone) at the same time they receive radioactive iodine therapy have less risk of developing Graves' eye disease.

Smokers are more prone to develop Graves' than nonsmokers.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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