Posts Tagged ‘graves disease treatment’

Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism Treatment Options

  Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism treatment options vary in their effectiveness, long term results and efficiency. So far, the medicine even after 100 years has not advanced a lot and acknowledges only 3 types of treatment. Please, consider the text below only as additional information.

   1. Medication: In the United States and many other countries two main brands of anti-thyroid medication are used: Methimazole and Propylthioyracil (PTU). The function of both antithyroid drugs is similar: to adjust the levels of the two hormones produced by the thyroid, free thyroxine (FT4) and free triiodothyronine (FT3), and to increase thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is the third important thyroid hormone. For their  normal ranges, please, refer to Thyroid Test Results. The philosophy behind the antithyroid drug treatment is that when the organism gets adjusted to the correct thyroid levels with the help of medication, soon it can do it on its own and the medication can be gradually reduced until no longer needed.  Easy said than done. That’s why this is the slowest known therapy as in many cases the drug dosage should be constantly adjusted until the desired results are achieved. The antithyroid drug therapy is chosen by some doctors as a primary choice of treatment and some others consider it as preparation of the patient for a consequent RAI treatment.

Methimazole. It is used to manage hyperthyroidism associated with Graves’ disease. Methimazole is generally well-tolerated with side effects occurring in 3 out of every 100 patients. The most common side effects are related to the skin and include rash, itching, hives, abnormal hair loss, and skin pigmentation. If you experience any of these side effects, please, consult your physician immediately. They usually appear if the doze is not correct so this should be adjusted as soon as possible. While many people see improvement in their FT4 levels, TSH remains unchanged for a prolonged period of time.

Propylthyoracil (PTU) is the other antithyroid drug prescribed for Graves’ Disease and hyperthyroidism. It is considered safer and usually is better tolerated by people, to my personal observation. It is administered to pregnant women suffering from Graves’ Disease more often as it is considered harmless for the baby and causes minimum birth defects.

The main concern of the doctors here is that the patient may relapse later. Yes, I agree, however it may or may not happen.

2. Thyroidectomy is the second treatment option for hyperthyroidism. This is a surgical removal of the thyroid gland, and is the oldest known treatment option for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism. Surgery is also an option for people who have a very large goiter, and those who are allergic to, or who may develop severe side effects from the antithyroid drug used to treat hyperthyroidism. Thyroidectomy could be partial or total, depending on the portion of thyroid to be removed. Total thyroidectomy, along with many other side effects will result in permanent hypothyroidism, i.e the patients need to take thyroid medication for hypothyroidism for the rest of their lives.

3.  Radioactive Iodine Treatment (RAI). This is the option most doctors will recommend even though I consider it the most dangerous. It has many side effects as well, and similarly to thyroidectomy will result in permanent hypothyroidism. Thyroid Eye Disease in most of the cases will not improve, but will get worse, as noted in many researches on the subject. Why the doctors prefer to ignore that information or even not disclose it to the patients still remains a mystery to me.

 4. Alternative natural treatments or a combination of antithyroid drug therapy and holistic methods. This I consider the most effective and harmless, but probably is the longest therapy. The Natural treatment system for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism  will involve change of diet, supplements, herbs, physical exercises, yoga, meditation, to name a few. Life style changes and stress management are also necessary. It is a total makeover and works not only on the symptoms but on the causes of Graves ’ disease and Hyperthyroidism as well. It’s a life changing experience, not just masking the symptoms or destroying vital parts of the body system like the thyroid gland. Both, antithyroid drug therapy and holistic methods can work together for faster results and they can be seen literally in a few weeks.

 5. No treatment, left untreated. This should not happen ever. Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism are dangerous autoimmune diseases which, if left untreated may cause a Thyroid Storm, a condition that may lead to death.

5 Myths about Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism

Myth #1: If you don’t do anything, Graves’ Disease will go away.

Wrong: If you don’t do anything you may face a thyroid storm, which is a very dangerous, life threatening condition. Symptoms could be, but are not limited to:  high fever, severe palpitations, vomiting, delirium etc. – all of them are very serious complications that can lead even to a heart failure. Do not play with the fire!

Myth #2: There is a miracle pill, which if I take it I can get cured overnight from hyperthyroidism.

Wrong: There isn’t such a thing as a magical pill, that can cure any disease, not only Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism overnight. Usually it takes the same amount of time for healing as for the physical manifestation of the disease. You disease didn’t show up overnight, it can’t go way overnight!

Myth #3: RAI (Radioactive Iodine Treatment) is a safe and fast way to resolve my hyperthyroidism issues.

Wrong: If you believe that swallowing radioactive iodine is that safe, what’s the big fuss about the earthquake in Japan? People wouldn’t be going around with masks and moving to different parts of the world, wouldn’t they? Hyperthyroid cats treated with that same pill wouldn’t be locked in metal containers for 2 weeks straight, right? But you believe that it is safe for people, for you?

Myth #4: Proper diet for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism is the only therapy that can fix my health problems.

Wrong: No matter what you eat, no matter how much broccoli and cabbage you consume overnight- that still will not cure you from Graves’ Disease. So said- keeping up with a good diet will definitely help, but it’s’ not the only pre-requisite remedial factor for Graves’ Disease. Certainly- there are foods that need to be avoided, like sea food and any other food with high iodine content, and of course foods called goitrogenous or cruciferous vegetables can help the inhibition of thyroid over production but if you do only the  diet approach that may not cure your Graves’ Disease.


Video: Hyperthyroidism Diet Secrets

Myth #5: I have to rely on my doctor/endocrinologist 100% for treating my Graves’ Disease and do whatever they say I should do.

Wrong: Doctors, at least most of them, do their best to treat properly their patients, to the best they have been taught. However, all humans are different and sometimes same medications and treatment options may have a completely dissimilar impact on different people. Do your own judgment, watch carefully how you feel and what reactions do you have, trust your intuition. In order to get cured you have to actively participate in the healing process and if your doctor is preventing you from doing so- don’t be afraid to fire him and get another one.

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