Coach Mike Holmgren mentioned Graves' disease as a potential cause of the symptoms experienced by WR Bobby Engram. You can read more about thyroid problems (and Graves' disease in particular) by visiting this site sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. My Engram story is below.
By Mike Sando
The News Tribune
KIRKLAND - Bobby Engram's thyroid condition will prevent him from playing for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, but coach Mike Holmgren thinks the veteran receiver will return soon.
"I don't think it's going to be real long," Holmgren said after practice Friday. "That's the feeling I'm getting, but I couldn't give you an exact time. It's nothing rare. It's nothing off the charts."
Engram was resting at home while his teammates completed their final practice before leaving for St. Louis today. Seattle plays the Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
Engram, 33, felt ill early in the week and watched practice from the sideline Monday.
"They are going to take some more tests," Holmgren said. "It feels like his heart is racing, like it is going a million miles an hour. He has to slow that thing down just a little bit and it has zapped his energy. He has no energy."
Those systems are consistent with hyperthyroidism and its most common manifestation, Graves' disease. Holmgren mentioned Graves' disease and alluded to viral thyroidism, also known as subacute thyroiditis, as possible causes behind Engram's symptoms.
"We think he is going to be OK," Holmgren said. "It is very treatable and he just needs some time now to get strong again.
"He took a series of tests early, and he can't take those same tests right away again. He has to give the medicine some time before they can do the tests again."
According to the National Institutes for Health, "Graves' disease is caused by inappropriate immune system activation that targets the thyroid gland and causes overproduction of thyroid hormones … causing a wide range of symptoms from anxiety and restlessness to insomnia and weight loss. In addition, the eyeballs may begin to protrude."
Graves' disease and hyperthyroidism are most common in women.
NIH resources say most people with Graves' disease respond well to treatment, which can include medication, radioactive iodine or surgery.
Viral thyroiditis is "an inflammation of the thyroid gland thought to be due to a viral infection," according to information provided through the Mayo Clinic's Web site.
"The disease usually goes away after a few months, but it may last up to six months," Dr. Todd B. Nippoldt wrote. "Initially, a person with subacute thyroiditis has signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including weight loss, rapid heartbeat and anxiety.
"This results from excess thyroid hormone released from damaged thyroid cells. As the thyroid heals, a period of underactive thyroid may follow. … Thyroid function typically returns to normal with no further problems."
Holmgren repeatedly stressed his feeling that Engram's condition was not particularly serious.
"After he goes through the series of meds, he should be OK, get his energy back and everything is going to be fine," the coach said. "It's not an unusual thing. This is not a rare type of thing. This happens to people. Please don't make it any more than that because it's not.
"He is missing time, which bothers me because he's a good player. Bobby Engram will be back as soon as he can possibly be back."
Engram's absence Sunday means D.J. Hackett will be active against the Rams.
Deion Branch has officially overtaken Nate Burleson as the starting split end, Holmgren confirmed. Branch, acquired by trade from New England early in the season, worked with the starters all week. …
Marcus Tubbs could start alongside Rocky Bernard at tackle. Seattle rotates tackles throughout the game. …
Tight end Jerramy Stevens, back this week from knee surgery, practiced again and the team expects him to make his regular-season debut against the Rams.
"My feeling is that he's going to be out there, but I still have to talk to him and the training staff a little bit more," Holmgren said.
Stevens was not on the team's injury report.