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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

  • Newly diagnosed and confused

    June 25, 2016, 9:22 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I am exploring options. All are scary. My attitude at the present time...

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    June 24, 2016, 8 p.m.

    Thank you both. I did lose a lot of weight before being diagnosed. Since being on the meds I have gained 10...

  • Functioning with Graves- the new normal...

    June 24, 2016, 6:49 p.m.

    Kimberly Great info - thanks for sharing your story! …Of course, focusing on nutrient-dense whole...

  • Functioning with Graves- the new normal...

    June 24, 2016, 6:29 p.m.

    Great info - thanks for sharing your story! One note about diet is that there is a LOT of conflicting...

  • Functioning with Graves- the new normal...

    June 23, 2016, 8:45 p.m.

    Hi! I started this thread to hopefully help those new to graves get an idea of what to expect down the road....

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    June 23, 2016, 7:09 p.m.

    I agree with Ellen about seeing an ophthalmologist, sooner rather than later. Weight issues, while annoying,...

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    June 23, 2016, 6:17 p.m.

    Hello - I know from personal experience that the weight issues are VERY frustrating. However, your #1...

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    June 23, 2016, 1:28 p.m.

    Hello, I am going to let other people respond to your question about being able to control your weight while...

  • On Week 12 and very discouraged

    June 23, 2016, 10:51 a.m.

    I am fairly new to being diagnosed with GD. When I was diagnosed I was scared to death. My heart rate was 140...

  • Newly diagnosed and confused

    June 23, 2016, 9:07 a.m.

    Evelyn I am thankful to have found this forum! I have recently been diagnosed with Graves' Dz. My endo's...

  • Newly diagnosed and confused

    June 22, 2016, 12:02 p.m.

    Hello, Today, the success story thread caught my eye. I saw your name Khadijah next to it as having replied...

  • Terrified of Graves

    June 22, 2016, 11:52 a.m.

    If you feel your doctor is brushing you off or ignoring you, it might be time for a new doctor. The first one...

  • Just curious about RAI

    June 22, 2016, 11:38 a.m.

    When I was first diagnosed with GD 9 years ago, the endocrinologist wanted to give me RAI immediately. I...

  • Haven't posted in a very long time

    June 22, 2016, 6:39 a.m.

    Your post is exactly what I needed at this time. A good reminder that this disease takes time to become...

  • TSI - Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins Levels

    June 21, 2016, 8:40 p.m.

    Hello - The antibodies have a fairly long “shelf life”, so my own doc only checks them every few...

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