Graves’ Disease – Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid causing it to make more thyroid hormone than the body needs. An overactive thyroid caused by autoimmune antibodies is also known as hyperthryoidism.
Related: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, also known as hypothryoidism caused by an underactive thryoid gland due to autoimmune antibodies.
What’s Graves’ Disease?
Like most autoimmune diseases, you are more likely to be diagnosed with Graves’ disease if you already have an autoimmune disease. The cause of Graves’ disease is still unknown, but research has suggested there may be a genetic factor involved or a possible virus.
When the immune system targets and attacks the thyroid, your gland then produces more of the natural thyroid hormone that your body needs. These hormones control how your body uses energy and can affect every organ, even your eyes and skin.
Graves’ Disease Symptoms
+ Swollen thyroid
+ Cysts on thyroid
+ Heat sensitivity
+ Mood or mental health changes
+ Menstrual cycle changes
+ Weight loss
+ Hand or finger tremors
+ Rapid or irregular heartbeat
+ Eye problems such as bulging, light sensitivity, vision loss, double vision or pressure
Graves’ Disease Diagnosis
+ Primary care provider
+ And in some cases: Ophthalmologist Surgeon
+ TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone)
Treatment for Graves Disease
Research foods. Most specialists recommend a low iodine diet. This includes unsalted nuts and nut butters, unsalted popcorn, homemade breads, and egg whites. Cruciferous vegetables are also thought to help graves disease. These include broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and bok choy.
I also recommend increasing your vitamins and typical wellness routines at this time because you will be admitted to a hospital or outpatient center for your imaging diagnosis or possible surgery.
- Antithyroid medication: These medications disrupt how the thyroid uses iodine. There is a good history of long-term results when this therapy is used for a year or longer. They may be used alone or with beta blockers or radioactive therapy. Some of these include: Methimazole Propylthiouracil
- Beta blockers help block how hormones affect your body and usually provide quick relief of Graves symptoms. Some of these include: Propranolol Metroprolol Atenolol Nadolol Radioactive therapy Also called radioiodine, this is a pill you take by mouth that targets and destroys overactive thyroid cells and causes your thyroid to shrink over time. People usually have to do an additional treatment later to bring thyroid levels up to normal numbers.
- It is important to include vitamins and minerals in your diet. Some specifically important to graves disease are: Calcium Vitamin D Iron Zinc Selenium
Get your Questions Answered about Graves Disease
ABOUT | I am a wife and mother living in the US Southwest. Since my autoimmune diagnosis, I have learned to love my body through food. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen coming up with allergy friendly recipes our family will love. I also love to keep my body active and occasionally participate in distance running. Our family has a passion for the outdoors, so you can always find us there!
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES | Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), Graves’ Disease