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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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    10 days post op and back to work, after seeing both surgeons for post op visits this morning. No bruising...

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    Sept. 22, 2014, 2:53 p.m.

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    Sept. 22, 2014, 9:32 a.m.

    snelsen You should see a neuro -ophthalmologist, if you can, and/or go to the eye doc familiar with graves....

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    Sept. 21, 2014, 6:24 p.m.

    hi snelsen, i thought so too,thats why i thought it was weird,that she asked me if i had graves.she has been...

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    Sept. 21, 2014, 12:02 a.m.

    Probably is TED, and probably you are in the active phase, your eyes are changing. I am speaking from my own...

  • poor eye muscle control,part of graves?

    Sept. 20, 2014, 7:12 p.m.

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    Sept. 20, 2014, 12:36 p.m.

    Hi. One of my eyes looks more open than the other due to lid retraction so I wear my eyeliner a little...

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    Sept. 20, 2014, 6:51 a.m.

    Thank you, Christina! Your post is the final piece to this puzzle I needed! I have been working with both...

  • Loss of taste with use of Methimazole

    Sept. 19, 2014, 7:06 p.m.

    I lost my sense of taste while on methimazole too. I only took the meds for about 2 or 3 months before...

  • How about itchy eyelids?

    Sept. 19, 2014, 6:51 p.m.

    Sue, I am one who has experienced this as part of my puffy eye problem. The itching (and dryness) usually...

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    Sept. 19, 2014, 2:43 p.m.

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  • Hi I`m a newbie and would really appreciate some advice.

    Sept. 19, 2014, 4:50 a.m.

    Thanks I`ll keep a close watch on my symptoms. The postie turned up with my letter today, I`m booked into...

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    Sept. 18, 2014, 10:32 p.m.

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  • Graves' and TED - Status update

    Sept. 18, 2014, 4:57 p.m.

    Hi all, Thank you for your replies and comments. I spoke too soon on the muscle cramps! Back with a vengeance...

  • TED makeup tips?

    Sept. 18, 2014, 4:42 p.m.

    Hi Janetf, Welcome to the Forum. This a great resource for information and advice from fellow sufferers. As...

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