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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

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    July 31, 2014, 11:21 a.m.

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    I initially wanted surgery as well, but being that I was 26, no surgeon felt comfortable operating on someone...

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    July 31, 2014, 5:57 a.m.

    AzGravesGuy - Thank you so much for responding. I have been following your journey. Your words hold a lot of...

  • Well, here goes!

    July 31, 2014, 3:50 a.m.

    Awesome and inspiring! I've only been on this journey less than a year, but I've felt more than once that I'm...

  • OD questions--confused

    July 30, 2014, 5:41 p.m.

    Also, your surgeon may not mention it (mine didn't, but snelsen did!), but you'll want to raise the head of...

  • Well, here goes!

    July 30, 2014, 4:15 p.m.

    Whoohooooo!!!!! So glad to hear that, and I can totally relate to everything you said. I had no idea how bad...

  • Well, here goes!

    July 30, 2014, 3:09 p.m.

    Fabulous news, and a really well-written post! Many thanks for documenting your progress on this looooong...

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    July 30, 2014, 3:01 p.m.

    Hello - I haven't seen a lot of good research on Armour and TSH, but this piece from the Cleveland Clinic...

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    July 30, 2014, 2:38 p.m.

    6 month post TT update: Currently stable on 125 of Synthroid. I have my life back. 100%. I forgot what it...

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    July 30, 2014, 1:41 p.m.

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  • RAI vs Surgery

    July 30, 2014, 12:57 p.m.

    Thanks Kimberly!

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