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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

  • Please Read - Bulletin Board Coverage Through 10/6

    Sept. 30, 2014, 5:14 p.m.

    Adding my healing thoughts, too, Kimberly - Flora

  • Please Read - Bulletin Board Coverage Through 10/6

    Sept. 30, 2014, 5:06 p.m.

    Kimberly, best wishes to you. Maybe you will feel well when you get home, and read books, relax, and get...

  • Please Read - Bulletin Board Coverage Through 10/6

    Sept. 30, 2014, 4:09 p.m.

    Best wishes for a positive outcome and a speedy recovery Kimberly. Deb (A.K.A. Robboford)

  • My teenager can't handle meds. RAI or Sx

    Sept. 30, 2014, 7:28 a.m.

    Just a beginning post, I have to leave so I will write more later. I realize your daughter is married, and...

  • My teenager can't handle meds. RAI or Sx

    Sept. 29, 2014, 8:07 p.m.

    She was having severe joint pain and could barely walk so she is off the anti-thyroid meds. Thank you for the...

  • Please Read - Bulletin Board Coverage Through 10/6

    Sept. 29, 2014, 4:40 p.m.

    Hi all – I am having surgery and will be out for a few days, hopefully back on Monday, Oct. 6th. (Not Graves’...

  • My teenager can't handle meds. RAI or Sx

    Sept. 29, 2014, 8:11 a.m.

    Hello and welcome! Hopefully, you will hear from others who have made the surgery vs. RAI decision. The...

  • Importance of TSH

    Sept. 27, 2014, 1:42 a.m.

    Check it out Subclinical thyroid problems and heart disease [wellnessresources.com] even TSH's higher within...

  • My teenager can't handle meds. RAI or Sx

    Sept. 26, 2014, 10:30 p.m.

    Hello! I'm new and this is my first post. My daughter is 15 and has Grave's. She lasted 2 weeks on the meds...

  • Importance of TSH

    Sept. 26, 2014, 12:40 p.m.

    i really don't know the implications of a high TSH. But my understanding was that the chances of increased...

  • Importance of TSH

    Sept. 26, 2014, 10:37 a.m.

    Hello - The primary concern with TSH that is above 10 is an increased risk of heart issues, so that is likely...

  • Frustrated & looking for answers

    Sept. 25, 2014, 2:23 p.m.

    Thank you all very much for all of the helpful information and advice! I appreciate it. I have my first...

  • Importance of TSH

    Sept. 25, 2014, 11:10 a.m.

    Hi everyone, been gone for a while but back now. Looking for any info you have bee given about why TSH is...

  • In a rush?

    Sept. 25, 2014, 7:16 a.m.

    Hello and thanks for the update! In rare cases, the thyroid can grow back and cause a recurrence of...

  • In a rush?

    Sept. 25, 2014, 4:07 a.m.

    Hello, I decided to get back on here. I am doing well overall, I had RAI 3 years ago now and it was a sucess,...

Questions? Problems? Please contact us at info@ngdf.org or 877-643-3123.

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© 2014 Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation