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Barbara Bush Being Treated for Graves' Disease, a Thyroid Disorder

March 30, 1989|From United Press International

WASHINGTON — First Lady Barbara Bush, suffering from swollen eyes and weight loss, has been found to have Graves' disease, a disorder of excess thyroid hormone production, her press office announced Wednesday.

A spokeswoman said the First Lady "feels just fine," and was only alerted to the condition when her eyes "really began to bug her."

In a statement, the White House announced that Mrs. Bush, 63, began treatment for the condition last Friday and is taking methimazole, a drug that blocks the production of thyroid hormones.

"Mrs. Bush recently began treatment for Graves' disease, caused by the production of excess amounts of hormones from the thyroid gland," the statement said. "A medical evaluation was prompted by mild swelling and irritation of the eyes and some loss of weight, which have been her only symptoms."

Graves' disease is five times more common in women than men and occurs most often in people between the ages of 20 and 40.

The American Medical Assn. reported that many people recover completely from excess production of hormones from the thyroid gland, "but many have recurring bouts of the disorder and if left untreated for many years such condition can lead to death."

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