If you suddenly lost a little bit of weight most of us wouldn't complain, but it could be a sign of a thyroid problem.
"It just comes on, there aren't any real risk factors we can identify," Endocrinologist Dr. James DeSimone is talking about Graves Disease. It affects more women than men, it's caused by an overproduction of the thyroid gland.
"In Graves Disease, it's a type of auto-immune disease and you make antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to pick up more iodine and make more thyroid hormones and speed you up," DeSimone said.
Thyroid hormone affects every part of the body, too much speeds up the metabolic system, weight loss and rapid heartbeats are common symptoms and there are other symptoms.
"It changes the way your hair follicles make hair. It might make bad hair so your hair will fall out. It will change the way your finger nails grow because that depends on metabolic rate also. It can make your skin dry, or soft or moist," DeSimone said.
"If left untreated it can be fatal. It's like a car engine idling at high speed, if left untreated, there are problems with heart irregular heartbeats, stroke and heart attacks," DeSimone said.
Treatment can include medications and surgery to remove the thyroid gland as well as melting it away.
You can take high dose of radioactive iodine which is concentrated at the thyroid gland and it melts the thyroid away over the period of four to six months, it's a very common way to treat it, DeSimone said.
There is good news, Graves disease is curable, the caveat is you have to be on medication your entire life.
"The nice thing about thyroid medication is that it is not really a medication, it's actually the true thyroid hormone that the thyroid gland would make and the only difference is, instead of it getting secreted from the gland itself, you get it orally," DeSimone said.