Hyperthyroidism

word cloud for hyperthyroidism or Graven's disease

Hyperthyroidism 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 tissues of the body.  It is thought to be an auto-immune disorder.  Destruction of thyroid tissue causes the release of excessive quantities of thyroid hormone into the blood which 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 the immune system can switch back and forth between attacking thyroid receptor stimulating antibodies and thyroid receptor blocking antibodies.  Either way, naturopathic treatment can calm down the immune attack on the thyroid and stabilize 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 while trying to preserve healthy thyroid hormone production. In many cases, hyperthyroidism can go into and stay in remission without killing off the thyroid with radioactive iodine.

Treatment of autoimmune disorders like Grave’s typically involves moderating the function of the immune system, supporting the body’s production of anti-inflammatory and immune moderating hormones like cortisol, balancing the endocrine system and/or healing the gut.

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

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

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.