Often times, when patients are diagnosed with a thyroid disease, they are scared are become pressured to make a quick decision regarding the treatment they should follow. These choices are often not well informed, leaving the patient regretting the surgical or radioactive procedure once they have had time to think and get a different view.
What are the my treatment options for Graves’ disease?
In case you have Graves’ disease and are reading this, take a deep breath. Allow yourself the time to read this guide and receive another opinion. In this article, we will describe what Graves’ disease is, what causes it, the dangers related to Graves’ and conventional and functional medicine treatment options.
What is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease is a form of thyroid autoimmunity that causes hyperthyroidism. It is a process in which immune cells are made by the body and attack they thyroid, causing the overproduction of thyroid hormones, or hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroid means too much thyroid hormone. What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease?
The Mayo clinic provided the following list:
- Difficulty sleeping
- An irregular or rapid heartbeat
- A tremor of your palms or palms
- An increase in sweat or warm, moist skin
- Sensitivity to heat
- Weight loss, despite eating habits
- Enlargement of your thyroid gland (goiter)
- Change in menstrual cycles
- Erectile dysfunction or libido
- Regular bowel movements or diarrhea
- Graves’ ophthalmopathy (eye problems -Eye bulging, tearing, dryness, irritation, puffy eyelids, inflammation, light sensitivity, blurred vision, pain)
- Thick, reddish skin usually on the shins or tops of their feet (Graves’ dermopathy)
What are the Risks of Graves’ Disease?
In case the hyperthyroidism brought on by Graves’ disease isn’t managed, it can cause significant damage. It can cause problems with changes in the structure and function of the heart, such as changes in heart rhythm and even heart failure because the signs of Grave’s includes increased heart speed. If a pregnant woman has Graves’ disease, it may cause complications like poor growth, problems with the child’s thyroid, premature birth or preeclampsia.
Thyroid storm is a life threatening complication of Graves’ in which one becomes hyperthyroid. It can cause profuse perspiration, fever, delirium, confusion, fatigue, tremors, highly irregular heartbeat, very low blood pressure and coma. This is considered a medical emergency. Brittle bones are also connected with untreated Grave’s disease.
People who have celiac disease are at increased risk to develop another autoimmune disease. Some common autoimmune disorders are; eczema/psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Actually, autoimmune disease are now more common than cancer.
Conventional Treatment for Graves’ Disease
In conventional medicine, thyroid controlling drugs and beta blockers are normally the initial treatment. Drugs interfere with your thyroid’s ability to use iodine; so thyroid hormone levels will be lowered by blocking iodine, iodine is required to make thyroid hormones. An example is Tapazone (Methimazole). Additionally, thyroid hormone levels do not affect thyroid hormone levels, instead, they obstruct the effects of thyroid hormone on the heart. Examples include Propranolol (Inderal), Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol, Nadolol (Corgard). What are the side effects of anti-thyroid drugs?
The Mayo clinic lists the “most common” side effects of Methimazole as:
- Black, tarry stools
- Chest pain
- Painful or difficult urination
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- Swollen glands
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
What are the Side Effects of Beta Blockers?
The Mayo clinic lists the “most common” side effects of Beta Blockers as:
- Cold hands
- Upset stomach
Targeting the Thyroid Gland
For more than 50 percent of individuals, these therapies will not work, prompting either surgical removal of the thyroid gland or even destruction of the gland using iodine. Radioactive iodine gets consumed by the thyroid gland and causes harm and destruction of the gland. Unfortunately, since the thyroid gland is either eliminated or destroyed, patients usually become hypothyroid, this is truly the goal of either surgery or radioactive iodine. These patients will then require thyroid hormone replacement for the rest of their lives. What are the dangers of surgery or radioactive iodine?
One of the drawbacks to radioactive iodine treatment is the simple fact that eye complications associated with Grave’s disease can be worsened by it. There are also dangers associated with the surgery such as damage to your glands and your vocal cords. Unfortunately, most who undergo surgery or radioactive iodine will require thyroid hormone replacement medication. Fortunately there are a few alternative treatment options for Graves’ disease.
Functional Medicine Treatment for Graves’ Disease
There are two main goals of functional medicine management of Graves’ disease. Functional medicine practitioners have to curb the hyperthyroidism. The goal here would be to provide immediate relief where: no damage occurs; and you as a patient may unwind, think clearly and not feel like today, you need to make a treatment choice.
Secondly, functional medicine practitioners must research the cause of the Graves’ disease. After they diagnose and determine the proper way to treat your thyroid issue, the thyroid gland has been described to return to normal and no unnecessary ongoing treatment may be required.
What if I have had my thyroid gland removed or irradiated?
It is still a good idea to read this guide and pursue what resulted in the Graves’ disease to begin with. Irradiating or eliminating the thyroid gland doesn’t take care of some of the symptoms. Healing and investigating the cause will assist in preventing any other forms of autoimmune disease from developing in the future and may significantly increase your overall health and wellness. A functional medicine practitioner can help determine the next steps to take.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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