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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

  • I`d value your opinions!

    Dec. 18, 2014, 8:43 a.m.

    Thanks Kimberly My doctor has left today for the holidays so unfortunately I`m left with this decision. I had...

  • I`d value your opinions!

    Dec. 18, 2014, 8:10 a.m.

    Hello - Hopefully, others who have adjusted dosing after RAI or surgery will chime in with their experiences....

  • I`d value your opinions!

    Dec. 18, 2014, 6:05 a.m.

    As you`ll see in previous postings, I had RAI just over 2 months ago. I went hypo pretty quickly and was...

  • GI Issues

    Dec. 16, 2014, 2:23 p.m.

    No wonder you aren't feeling well! Definitely file away a copy of that lab report. The next time your doc...

  • GI Issues

    Dec. 16, 2014, 12:09 p.m.

    My endo just called and is putting me back on 88 mgs of synthroid. T3 0.7 T4 0.3 TSH 35.79 Hoping I start to...

  • GI Issues

    Dec. 15, 2014, 5:01 p.m.

    Thank you for the information. I went and did my labs today and will be waiting to hear from my doctor...

  • hello and issues with Tapazole (methamazole)?

    Dec. 15, 2014, 1:42 p.m.

    Hello. I would think you need to see a doctor and get some labs to make sure your white count didn't drop...

  • hello and issues with Tapazole (methamazole)?

    Dec. 15, 2014, 1:42 p.m.

    Hello. I would think you need to see a doctor and get some labs to make sure your white count didn't drop...

  • Is ATD a temporary method to treat Graves?

    Dec. 15, 2014, 10:35 a.m.

    Hello and welcome! Some fluctuation is common, although certainly not the wild swings that you've been...

  • hello and issues with Tapazole (methamazole)?

    Dec. 15, 2014, 10:26 a.m.

    Hello and welcome! It's common for the dose of anti-thyroid meds to need adjusting throughout the Graves'...

  • new to GD

    Dec. 15, 2014, 10:20 a.m.

    dragonteeth When I went over pros and cons with my endo, she only put a limitation of not getting pregnant...

  • GI Issues

    Dec. 15, 2014, 10:14 a.m.

    Hello – Doctors do like to see TSH come back to normal, as suppressed TSH is associated with an increased...

  • Is ATD a temporary method to treat Graves?

    Dec. 15, 2014, 7:17 a.m.

    So to get this straight… I appears that many people with GD has this issue with the TSH levels going up...

  • hello and issues with Tapazole (methamazole)?

    Dec. 15, 2014, 1:57 a.m.

    Hi, I am 48 and a nurse by profession and was diagnosed with Graves disease in September 2013 after a...

  • new to GD

    Dec. 14, 2014, 1:52 p.m.

    New to the forum, 50 hours out from RAI admin. (Feeling good, no side effects despite a 14mCi dose). When I...

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