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Treatment Options

How is Graves’ disease treated?

Graves' disease is treated three ways. The choice of treatment varies to some degree from country to country, and among particular physicians as well. The decision should be made with the full knowledge and informed consent of the patient, who is the primary member of the treatment team. The selection of treatment will include factors such as age, degree of illness, and personal preferences. Generally speaking, from least invasive to most invasive, the treatments include:

  1. Anti-thyroid drugs, which inhibit production or conversion of the active thyroid hormone
  2. Total thyroidectomy, in which a surgeon removes the thyroid gland and renders it incapable of overproducing thyroid hormone
  3. Radioactive iodine (I-131), which destroys part or all of the thyroid gland and renders it incapable of overproducing thyroid hormone

For in-depth information on the three treatment options, please visit our patient education page.

Are there any alternatives for treating Graves’ disease?

There are a number of things that you can do to assist your body in healing. However, the state of science as we know it indicates there is no "natural" way to "cure" Graves' disease. For instance, although there are no specific foods that will change your thyroid function, the healthier, nutritionally dense foods you eat, the better your body will be able to fight against infection and further insult. Equally, many of the treatments like acupuncture, exercise, meditation, and various mind-body therapies may provide comfort measures and relief, but are not a substitute for standard medical treatment. Be sure to consult and collaborate with your physician when embarking on additional therapies. There are many studies of other auto-immune diseases that indicate that the more input and control a patient has in their care, the more rapid their recovery will be. It is of interest to all who are hopeful of more, effective additional treatment models in the future that the National Institutes of Health are trying to adequately research and evaluate the hard data of alternative therapies.

What are the complications with Graves’ disease?

Graves' disease usually responds to treatment, and after the initial period of hyperthyroidism, is relatively easy to treat and manage. There are some exceptions to this, and for some, treatment and subsequent stabilization are much more challenging, both to the patient and the treating team of physicians. The more serious complications of prolonged, untreated, or improperly treated Graves' disease include weakened heart muscle leading to heart failure; osteoporosis, or possible severe emotional disorders.

Recent News

Recent Forum Posts

  • Hi - RAI update in UK.

    Nov. 1, 2014, 3:59 a.m.

    Thank you Kimberly That`s so reassuring that the numbers seem ok. I`m beginning to feel anxious and I`m...

  • Well, here goes!

    Oct. 31, 2014, 9:21 p.m.

    Oh gosh, Az. Gravesguy! How nice to hear from you!! What a wonderful person you are! You have been down a...

  • Well, here goes!

    Oct. 31, 2014, 11:03 a.m.

    Yes, thank you for the update! I am 15 months post TT and still haven't found the sweet spot of Levothyroxine...

  • Well, here goes!

    Oct. 31, 2014, 10:15 a.m.

    @AZGravesGuy - Huge thanks for the update and for the kind words about the forum! Thanks also for sharing...

  • Well, here goes!

    Oct. 31, 2014, 6:37 a.m.

    I am almost back to my pre-Graves weight. Endurance, strength, and clarity are all back to normal. My hair...

  • Well, here goes!

    Oct. 31, 2014, 6:33 a.m.

    Happy Halloween everyone! I fell into a bit of the hypo a few weeks ago and I now take 137mcg on Mondays and...

  • Graves disease and surgery

    Oct. 31, 2014, 5:58 a.m.

    The risk of having interoperative hypotension doubles with hypothyroidism....

  • Graves disease and surgery

    Oct. 30, 2014, 8:59 a.m.

    Hello and welcome! Usually, the issue with Graves' and surgery is that the patient is too hypER (i.e. Free T4...

  • Hi - RAI update in UK.

    Oct. 30, 2014, 8:49 a.m.

    Hello - The time frame I usually hear referenced is 6-18 weeks, but that is for patients who have...

  • Ratio between TSH and Free T4 levels?

    Oct. 30, 2014, 8:46 a.m.

    @Sue - The relationship between T4 and TSH is complex and I don't think it's fully understood: (Note on...

  • Hi - RAI update in UK.

    Oct. 30, 2014, 5:21 a.m.

    I had the impression the nurse was meaning they wouldn`t let me become too hyper- but you may be right...

  • Graves disease and surgery

    Oct. 29, 2014, 8:12 a.m.

    My 24 yr old niece is scheduled for surgery to remove the thyroid next week but her tsh levels fluctuate...

  • Ratio between TSH and Free T4 levels?

    Oct. 28, 2014, 9:26 p.m.

    Hey there Ras Lady -nice to “see” you! Cautious hope - I like it, and I think every Gravester...

  • Ratio between TSH and Free T4 levels?

    Oct. 28, 2014, 6:36 p.m.

    Hey Sue! How've ya been? I would be tempted to ask him whether he finds this TSH/FT4 ratio applies in the...

  • Ratio between TSH and Free T4 levels?

    Oct. 28, 2014, 4:07 p.m.

    I had a routine follow up with my endo today. Since my TT July 2013 we have been trying to get my TSH up to...

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