Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation To Host Free Patient Seminar

(October 3, 2019) – The Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation (GDATF) will host a free patient seminar on Sunday, October 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Denver Hotel, 3203 Quebec Street, Denver, CO, 80207. Confirmed presenters include Robert G. Fante, M.D., F.A.C.S., Dr. Fante Eye and Face Centre, Denver, CO; Miriam Lango, M.D., F.A.C.S., Otolaryngologist, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; and Jennifer Morrison, M.D., Ph.D.,
Univ of Colorado School of Medicine, Lafayette, CO. Seating is limited, so advance RSVPs are required to reserve space. To register, visit the GDATF’s web site at or call 877-643-3123.

“Who is that funny man with the strange eyes?”

Actor and screenwriter Gene Wilder recalls his first impression of actor Marty Feldman: “Who is that funny man with the strange eyes?” (1) He then wrote the part of Igor in Young Frankenstein for Feldman, who used his unusual appearance to comedic effect throughout his career. But Feldman’s bulging eyes were no joke – his appearance was caused by Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease. And for those who live with these conditions today, the effects are far from funny. In addition to eye involvement – bulging, swelling, eyelid retraction, double vision, dryness, and light sensitivity – patients living with Graves’ disease can also experience rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, fatigue, insomnia, unexpected weight loss, and heat intolerance.

If the condition is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, complications can include heart failure, osteoporosis, severe emotional disorders, vision loss, and thyroid storm, which can be fatal. Patients with severe eye involvement can face multiple surgeries to restore eye function and appearance.

Graves’ disease is caused by a defect in the immune system in which antibodies attack the thyroid, often resulting in hyperthyroidism. There is currently no cure for the root cause – the autoimmune defect – so treatment options focus on eliminating the hyperthyroidism through medications, radioactive iodine, or surgery. Although the link between the thyroid and the eyes in Graves’ disease was not well understood in Marty Feldman’s time, new research has shed light on the mechanism behind thyroid eye disease and has sparked research into a new treatment option that could be effective in the early stages of the disease.

GDATF Executive Director Kimberly Dorris noted, “The effects of Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease can have a devastating impact on quality of life. Thyroid eye disease in particular can threaten a patient’s financial stability by leaving them unable to work, can threaten their independence by impairing the ability to drive, and can even impact their social life, as the disease – and the change in appearance – can affect how they interact with the outside world. This event will empower patients by helping them understand the available treatment options, and by giving them an opportunity to connect with others who understand what they are going through.”

The Graves’ Disease and Thyroid Foundation provides educational programming and support to patients with Graves’ disease and other thyroid disorders. This event is being held in conjunction with the 22nd International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference hosted by ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.

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