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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

  • Hello...another newbie, to the forum not to graves!

    Aug. 30, 2014, 12:18 a.m.

    Thanks! I had a doctor tell me years ago that my thyroid was still “kicking in” from time to time...

  • Thyrotoxic Myopathy

    Aug. 29, 2014, 1:49 p.m.

    Hi Karen, how've you been doing? I just realized you had a question for me I never replied to in this thread....

  • Eyelid Surgery

    Aug. 29, 2014, 12:29 p.m.

    I have the same problem so I eyes seem to be tearing. This not simply watery but more like a gel at times. I...

  • Thyrotoxic Myopathy

    Aug. 29, 2014, 11:02 a.m.

    Bumping to the top…

  • Thyrotoxic Myopathy and Muscle Weakness

    Aug. 29, 2014, 11:01 a.m.

    Hello - If you are seeking new responses from your thread a few months ago, it's best to “bump”...

  • Hello...another newbie, to the forum not to graves!

    Aug. 29, 2014, 11 a.m.

    Hello and welcome! That's great news that you have finally found a doctor who truly understands Graves'!...

  • Hello...another newbie, to the forum not to graves!

    Aug. 28, 2014, 11:37 p.m.

    Just wanted to say hello and introduce myself. I am 34 years old, live in Las Vegas NV, was diagnosed in Dec...

  • Thyrotoxic Myopathy and Muscle Weakness

    Aug. 28, 2014, 3:48 p.m.

    Has anyone else had a problem with thyrotoxic myopathy, muscle weakness and/or muscle wasting? If so, how...

  • Well, here goes!

    Aug. 27, 2014, 7:21 a.m.

    After only sleeping 4 hrs last night, I finally got up around 6 am and logged on. I read through the entire...

  • swingin from hyper to hypo!

    Aug. 26, 2014, 6:48 p.m.

    I am decades older than you and was diagnosed with Graves in 1998. I went on anti-thyroid meds and hormone...

  • Severity of Graves' disease

    Aug. 26, 2014, 5:55 p.m.

    Agree with Kimberly. Symptoms plus labs. If you feel hyper, and your labs “say” you aren't, that...

  • Yikes! The OD is scheduled

    Aug. 26, 2014, 5:52 p.m.

    My experience is that, when you notice there have not been further changes in your eyes, subjectively or by...

  • Graves Hereditary?

    Aug. 26, 2014, 2:16 p.m.

    @tkiv - So glad that you found the info here helpful! @wandaaaron1 - Welcome to the group!

  • newly diagnosed with Graves

    Aug. 26, 2014, 2:14 p.m.

    Hello - I'm sorry to hear about your son's diagnosis, but I'm glad that you found us. I don't recall seeing...

  • Severity of Graves' disease

    Aug. 26, 2014, 2:09 p.m.

    Hello - There is actually no set answer to this question! It's hard to say whether you should judge severity...

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