For many years, researchers have proven that allergic reactions can cause relapses in patients with Graves' disease. It's also widely known that as immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels rise in response to allergic reactions, symptoms worsen in patients with Graves' disease. Allergic reactions can also trigger the development of Graves' disease with allergies to cedar pollen being the leading cause of Graves' disease in Japan.
In recent years, animal researchers have discovered that minor variations in the BACH2 gene often lead to the development of allergic and autoimmune diseases. These studies, which were conducted in mice, suggest that a single component of the immune system plays a broad role in regulating immune function. Autoimmune diseases tied to these variations include multiple sclerosis, asthma, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, Graves' disease, and type 1 diabetes.
Studies have also shown that with gene therapy these variations can be corrected, offering a possible cure for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. For now, keeping allergies well controlled is one's best defense against relapse.
Hidaka, Y, et al., 1993. Recurrence of thyrotoxicosis after attack of allergic rhinitis in patients with Graves' disease. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 177: 1677-70.
National Institutes of Health. 2013. NIH scientists find link between allergic and autoimmune diseases in mouse study. June 2 News Release.