Graves’ disease (GD) is an autoimmune disorder that leads to the over activity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) through the production of thyroid specific auto-antibodies. It is a disorder of the immune system affecting the thyroid and in some cases the eyes and the skin. It is caused by the loss of a tolerance of the immune system that turns on its own body. People with Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism) produce thyroid stimulating antibodies (among some others), which mimic thyroid stimulating hormone from pituitary. These antibodies force the thyroid gland to overproduce hormones. Normally, antibodies are produced to fight infections and not to stimulate thyroid hormonal production. Specific triggers may result in this anomaly of the immune system in people with genetic predisposition to Graves’ disease.
Almost all patients with Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism) need a treatment, at least initially. The treatment for Graves’ disease should be individual and would depend on personal circumstances, such as the severity of symptoms, results of diagnostic tests, own individual preference, eye involvement, the size of the goiter, age, pregnancy considerations, experience of a health provider and whether nodules are present in the thyroid.
The main medical treatments for Graves’ are antithyroid medications, surgery and radioactive iodine treatment. Holistic treatments include stress reduction, herbs, supplements, diet changes and other approaches. Most of people with Graves’ disease are depleted in certain nutrients and minerals. Remission is possible with all these treatments.
Remission can also occur spontaneously, however genetics plays a role. Positive lifestyle changes make a big difference also.
Some people might need to have radical treatments like surgery or radioactive Iodine on rare occasions. As these treatments are not reversible, they need to be considered very carefully. They will most likely result in hypothyroidism and a person needs to be prepared to take thyroid hormonal replacement for the rest of their life and aim for an optimal hormonal replacement. Some people do very well on anti-thyroid medication and can achieve remission with this treatment especially with positive lifestyle changes. Others combine antithyroid medications with some natural protocols. Some people with mild symptoms do very well with natural remedies only.
I discuss all treatments in my book: ‘Thyroid and Graves’ disease unmasked’, how they work, their remission rates and positive and negative aspects. My books may provide you with the understanding of all the treatments so that you can make an informed and wise decision for your health.
Life after your treatment
The main goal for Graves’ disease sufferer is to achieve a remission from Graves’ disease and live a healthy and happy life. It is also important to keep other autoimmune diseases at bay. Diet, the health of digestive system, looking after personal emotional needs and stress reduction all can make a huge positive difference.
People, who had undergone radical treatments need to have an optimal hormonal replacement, which is absolutely vital for a long term health. The common thyroid hormonal replacement is given in the form of levothyroxine preparation (T4 hormone only). However, for many patients this single hormone does not provide an optimal solution. Research indicates that most patients do better on a T4/T3 hormonal combination replacement. Many patients find natural thyroid hormonal replacement, such as Armour (desiccated pig thyroid) superior.
It is important to know what thyroid hormones need from you to work optimally in your body. You also need to reduce your autoimmunity problems in general as people with one autoimmune disorder, often have other non- thyroid related antibodies.
My book discusses all these issues and may help you in achieving your personal long term health success.