Hyperthyroid or Grave’s Disease

Hyperthyroid or Overactive Thyroid

Hyperthyroidism Definition

Hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid (also called Grave’s disease), is a condition that is caused by the effects of too much thyroid hormone on the tissues of your body.  It is thought to be an auto-immune disorder.  The autoimmune destruction of your thyroid tissue causes the random release of excessive quantities of thyroid hormone into your blood.  This is what causes hyperthyroid symptoms. 

What are the Symptoms of Grave’s disease?

The following are the symptoms of having an overactive thyroid:

  • Palpitations
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Light or absent menses
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety
  • Exophthalmos (bulging eyes)

It is also possible for someone to alternate between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism as your immune system switches back and forth between attacking thyroid receptor stimulating antibodies and thyroid receptor blocking antibodies.  Either way, naturopathic treatment calms down the immune attack on your thyroid and stabilizes its function.

What Causes Grave’s disease?

Current thought on hyperthyroidism is that it is an autoimmune disorder.  This means that your body is attacking your thyroid.  This immune attack can cause excessive release of thyroid hormones from the damaged thyroid tissue.  Grave’s disease can also be induced by an anti-arrhythmic medication known as amiodarone.

Natural Treatment of Hyperthyroidism

Our naturopathic doctor’s treatment of hyperthyroidism aims to balance thyroid and other synergistic organ system functions.  At the same time, we aim to preserve healthy thyroid hormone production. In many cases, hyperthyroidism goes into and stays in remission.  This occurs without killing off your thyroid with radioactive iodine.

Treatment of autoimmune disorders like Grave’s typically involves:

  • moderating the function of your immune system
  • supporting your body’s production of anti-inflammatory and immune moderating hormones like cortisol
  • balancing your endocrine system and/or
  • healing your gut.

Undiagnosed Celiac disease often plays a role in autoimmune disorders, particularly autoimmune thyroid disease.  Our naturopathic doctors recommend testing for Celiac disease in all patients with autoimmune thyroid problems.

Stress reduction, vitamins, minerals, herbs, and acupuncture can be used to moderate thyroid function without causing damage to your thyroid.  Herbs like Motherwort and Lemon Balm are used to moderate the symptoms of an overactive thyroid while we are addressing the root cause of the problem.  

By Dr. Pamela Frank, Naturopathic Doctor, updated Jan. 4, 2020

Thyroid Research

Gesing J1, Hoppmann J2, Gebauer R3, Pfäffle R2, Bertsche A2, Kiess W2. Diagnosis and Clinical Course of Three Adolescents with Amiodarone-Induced Hyperthyroidism. Pediatr Cardiol. 2018 Sep 21. doi: 10.1007/s00246-018-1981-x.

Wong M1, Inder WJ1,2. Alternating hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in Graves’ disease. Clin Case Rep. 2018 Jul 9;6(9):1684-1688. doi: 10.1002/ccr3.1700. eCollection 2018 Sep.

Miśkiewicz P1, Kępczyńska-Nyk A, Bednarczuk T. Coeliac disease in endocrine diseases of autoimmune origin. Endokrynol Pol. 2012;63(3):240-9.

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