What Is Graves’ Disease, The Illness Wendy Williams Is Suffering From?
For a week, The Wendy Williams Show will air reruns. The news comes after a December incident in which host Wendy Williams slurred her words because of painkillers prescribed to her. The daytime talk show host’s family announced that she’ll be taking a leave of absence for health reasons.
Williams suffers from Graves’ disease. She’s been public about her battle with it and has taken time off for her health before. Just last February, the host took three weeks off from the show at her doctor’s order.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, Graves’ disease is an immune disease that disrupts the regulation of the thyroid hormone. Rather than producing a normal amount of the hormone, the body produces an increased and unhealthy amount. The thyroid hormone is linked to processes throughout the body and thus Graves’ disease manifests in a number of ways. It’s most common in women under the age of 40. Common symptoms include heart palpitations and tremors, leaving suffers anxious, irritable and shaky.
Thirty percent of Graves’ disease patients also experience inflamed and irritated muscles and tissues around the eyes. Williams is one of these patients. It’s why her eyes often appear to bulge out of the sockets during the filming of the show.
Risk factors for the condition include family history, age, gender, and also general health. Normally, the condition is non-life threatening if treated. Pregnancy complications may occur as well as a rare but life-threatening complication called a thyroid storm. This is a sudden and rapid increase in thyroid hormones that can cause anything from fevers to severely low blood pressure to comas. A thyroid storm requires immediate care.
Graves’ disease is diagnosed by a general physical examination or a blood sample. During the exam, doctors will check to see if the eyes or the thyroid glands are irritated. A blood sample will determine the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone. An increased amount of TSH can indicate the disease.
Treatment of the disease center around inhibiting the production of the thyroid hormone and blocking its effects on the body. Some treatments include anti-thyroid medications and surgery to remove part of or all of the thyroid gland.
Williams will return to the show with new guests on January 28.
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