What Are the Risk Factors for Graves’ Disease

What Are the Risk Factors for Graves' Disease?

• Age and gender. The average age of onset of Graves' disease is 40 or younger. Women have a seven to eight times higher incidence rate compared to men.

• Family and genetics. Gene mutations are linked to the cause of Graves' disease. Human leukocyte antigen, or HLA, complex, is responsible for differentiating self from nonself as part of the host's immune defense system. Mutation of HLA genes leads to Graves' disease, in which the immune cells attack thyroid hormone– producing cells in the thyroid gland, mistaking them as foreign.

• Other autoimmune diseases. Patients with autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of Graves' disease.