Grave's disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to over-activity of the thyroid gland, a condition called hyperthyroidism (an under-active thyroid leads to hypothyroidism). Because the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your body's metabolism, which in turn regulates your mood, weight and energy levels, the symptoms of Grave's disease can be quite varied and serious.
Signs and symptoms of Grave's disease include:
- difficulty concentrating
- increased appetite
- weight loss
- goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland)
- hair loss
- excessive sweating
- heat intolerance
- shortness of breath with exertion
- rapid or irregular heartbeat
- muscle weakness
- irregular menstruation
- exophthalmos (a condition where your eyeballs protrude)
It is not known what causes the immune system to produce antibodies that attack the thyroid gland in Grave's disease, but it is thought that there may be genetic links.
Your doctor will attempt to treat the over-activity of your thyroid gland with medication initially, by using beta-blockers to help control rapid heart rate, sweating and anxiety. Following this, anti-thyroid medications, radioactive iodine, and even surgery may be recommended to treat your hyperthyroidism. Be aware that with radiation and surgery, you will need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of your life to compensate for the destruction or removal of this important gland. Maintenance of some kind will always be important with Grave's disease, so be sure to follow your doctor's advice in the event that you lose your thyroid gland.
Natural therapies can help manage your symptoms of Grave's disease. For example, diet modification can help support your immune system and keep you feeling healthy, while acupuncture and TCM can help regulate your hormone levels and reduce symptoms such as an increased appetite. Yoga and massage therapy can help reduce stress and thereby possibly reduce your symptoms as well.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent and manage the symptoms of Grave's disease.
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