ABBREVIATIONS & DEFINITIONS
Graves’ disease: the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. It is caused by antibodies that attack the thyroid and turn it on.
Hyperthyroidism: a condition where the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism may be treated with antithyroid medications, radioactive iodine, or surgery.
Thyroid eye disease (TED): also known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy. TED includes inflammation of the eyes, eye muscles and the surrounding tissues. Symptoms include dry eyes, red eyes, bulging of the eyes and double vision.
Antithyroid drugs (ATDs): medications that block the thyroid from making thyroid hormone. Methimazole, carbimazole and propylthiouracil (PTU) are used to treat hyperthyroidism, especially when it is caused by Graves’ disease.
Radioactive iodine (RAI): this plays a valuable role in diagnosing and treating thyroid problems since it is taken up only by the thyroid gland. I-131 is the destructive form used to destroy thyroid tissue in the treatment of thyroid cancer and hyperthyroidism.
Thyroidectomy: surgery to remove the entire thyroid gland.
Cholestasis: a condition where the bile cannot flow from the liver to the intestine.
Agranulocytosis: a marked decrease in the neutrophil count, the most abundant type of white blood cells that causes a patient to be more likely to develop an infection. This is commonly associated with a fever and/ or a sore throat.
Radiation thyroiditis: painful inflammation of the thyroid gland caused by the RAI therapy used to treat hyperthyroidism.
Hypocalcemia: low calcium levels in the blood, a complication from thyroid surgery that is usually shortterm and relatively easily treated with calcium pills. If left untreated, low calcium may be associated with muscle twitching or cramping and, if severe, can cause seizures and/or heart problems.
Recurrent laryngeal nerve: a branch of the vagus nerve located close to the thyroid gland that regulate the muscles that move the vocal cords.