Hello. I am a 28 y/o female, with Fibromyalgia, Migraines, Endometriosis, Hidradenitis Suppurativa and a few other odds and ends. But I was recently diagnosed with Graves' Disease by an Endo, after 3 years of unexplained tachycardia, heat sensitivity and dilated pupils. In the past I have been borderline hypothyroidism and I'm a curvy woman, so I never would've guessed I was HYPERthyroidism. My head is metaphorically spinning these days. In 2 weeks, I had blood work come back hyperthyroidism, a referral to an Endocrinologist, which after reading my typed up medical history and family history, said he was almost positive I had Graves', and 3 days later it was confirmed through blood tests. I was told to think about my 3 options while they were confirming it through the blood tests. He seems to favor the Radioactive Iodine (RAI) and full thyroidectomy. The other option being antithyroid medications. He said since I seemed confused and overwhelmed, he could put me on Methimazole for 2 years. He said he'd keep me on the Inderal LA (beta blocker) for my heart. I haven't been on beta blockers very long (3 months). My blood pressure ranged from prehypertensive to stroke range, and my resting heart rate is always at least 120 at the lowest without it. It was usually like 140-160 on average, the last 6+ months. Almost daily upto 180 for some amount of time, but it never stayed there for more than a couple hours. It was really scary and exhausting. But I read that beta blockers interact with antithyroid medications, so I am scared and I haven't started it yet. But my doctor mentioned weeks ago, I have to stay on the beta blocker and be treated or I'd likely have a stroke or be in heart failure by 10 years. I feel really overwhelmed and alone. My boyfriend doesn't understand (he thinks I should just be on a mood stabilizer, not that I am scared and overwhelmed) and I don't think my family thinks Graves' is a big deal. I am also in a pretty down state, because I officially have an autoimmune disease, and I'm only 28. I watched my grandmother's battle with Sjogren's and Lupus (as well as hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia and other things). I was diagnosed with Fibro when I was only 21. I was slowly taking after her genes, but she was in her 50's when she developed these things. So this all scares me. I guess what I am looking for is maybe feedback/experiences and a little support. What have you tried? What have you experienced? Has anyone tried integrative medicine?
Conventional treatment options for Graves' disease include:
* Anti-thyroid medication (first choice for treatment in uncomplicated Graves' disease):
Carbimazole (Neomercazole) - not available in the US
Anti-thyroid medications decrease the level of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The goal with anti-thyroid drug treatment is to decrease the thyroid antibodies and induce remission. Approximately 30% with Graves' disease will have a remission after prolonged treatment (at least 6 months up to 2 years) with anti-thyroid medication.
* Betablockers - does not block the production of thyroid hormone but can help with symptoms such as rapid heart rate, trembling, anxiety.
The two following treatment options usually cause permanent hypothyroidism requiring lifelong thyroid hormone therapy:
* RAI (radioactive iodine) therapy
* Surgery (most or all of the thyroid gland is removed)
Alternative/natural treatments for Graves' disease include:
* Herbs Bugleweed (Lycopus virginica) and Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) can help reduce the production of thyroid hormone. Bugleweed may block the action of thyroid-stimulating antibodies found in Graves' disease. The herb Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) can help regulate a rapid heartbeat.
* Over consumption of uncooked goitrogenic foods can depress thyroid activity. Goitrogenic foods include brussels sprouts, cabbage of all kinds, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, peaches, pears, rapini, spinach, strawberries, radishes, rutabagas, turnips, soybeans, pine nuts, peanuts, millet, rape seed (canola oil).
* One study demonstrated that selenium (200 mcg daily) significantly improved quality of life, reduced ocular involvement, and slowed progression of the disease in patients with mild Graves' orbitopathy (thyroid eye disease).
* L-carnitine which has been shown to inhibit thyroid activity and may help prevent the possible lethal outcome of a thyroid storm.
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