Understanding Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease
Hyperthyroidism is a thyroid disorder cause by hyperactivity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is intimately linked with the functioning of major body organs including the brain and the heart. An excess of thyroid hormone causes these functions to speed up and leads to a sudden spike in blood sugar which can cause nervousness, increased heart rate and anxiety. Studies have shown that women are five times more likely to suffer hyperthyroidism as compared to men.
What causes hyperthyroidism?
Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder which makes the thyroid gland secret an excess of its own hormone.
Hyperthyroidism can also be caused due to an excessive intake of iodine or due to a large dosage of medication prescribed for a hypothyroid patient. A type of hyperthyroidism called postpartum thyroiditis, is experienced by new mothers who may display symptoms of thyroid hyperactivity post-delivery.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
If you find yourself experiencing any two or more of the following symptoms of thyroid on a regular basis, do consult a doctor immediately.
- An increased heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Insomnia (inability to sleep at night)
- Fatigue through the day
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sudden weight loss
- Constant anxiety
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular menstruation
- Unexplained irritation
Answering important questions on hyperthyroidism
- I heard that Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder. What does that mean?
An autoimmune disorder is a dysfunction of the immune system. Our immune system defends us from bacteria and viruses by producing antibodies. However, sometimes, the immune system gets confused and begins attacking the good protein cells of the thyroid gland. In this situation, the thyroid responds by producing increased levels of its hormones to counteract the effect of the autoimmune disease. This is how Graves’ disease causes hyperthyroidism.
- My mother faced thyroid complications. Is hyperthyroidism genetic?
Yes. Certain genetic factors make an individual more susceptible to thyroid problems. Autoimmune diseases are often genetically passed on. Moreover, if your mother had hyperthyroidism, you may not necessarily develop the same condition. You could face hypothyroidism; an underactive thyroid gland. Thus, if you family medical history shows a pattern of thyroid problems do get yourself checked.
- Is there a link between hyperthyroidism and hypertension?
Yes, there is. Patients with symptoms of hyperthyroidism often suffer from an increased heart rate, unexplained anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness. These contribute to a high blood pressure or hypertension condition. Hypertension is one of the deadliest cardiovascular conditions leading to fatal heart attacks. Therefore, any underlying thyroid problems must be dealt with immediately.
- Does thyroid medication have any harmful side effects?
Your doctor will prescribe a dose of antithyroid medication suited to your levels of hyperthyroidism. Still, patients have experienced mild rash breakouts on the skin and nausea. More severe symptoms include stomach ulcers, a drop on white blood cells and fever. If your experience any discomfort on your first day of medication, stop the tablets and contact your doctor immediately.
- I have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Are there any foods I should avoid?
You must avoid high glycemic carbs. These are foods that break down in the body very quickly and cause a spike in blood sugar. This list includes white flour, white rice, sugar, potatoes, corn, and all dairy products. Avoid caffeine based stimulants including instant coffee and aerated drinks. Stay away from salty snacks including chips and biscuits.
- What foods should I eat instead?
Stick to foods that are high in fibre such as oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, brown bread, wholegrain pasta,lentils, and yams. Since you will skip milk, add calcium in your diet through green leafy vegetables, almond milk, and seafood. The trick is to stay away from processed foods and eat as much natural homemade food as you can.
- Do I really need the medication? Can hyperthyroidism go away on its own?
Yes, you do need medical advice and care. Initial symptoms of hyperthyroidism can give way to more serious problems such as irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke.
Homeopathy and thyroid treatment
Homeopathy is a good alternative to those seeking relief from the symptoms of thyroid. Homeopathic thyroid treatment has no side effects and is especially suitable for patients of hyperthyroidism who are looking for treatment outside conventional medicine. Homeopathic remedies are gentle and are preferred by parents for their children, by expectant mothers and by the elderly.
Merely treating the symptoms of thyroid does not address the underlying conditions. Homeopathic thyroid treatment looks at healing the root cause of the thyroid problem and providing permanent relief. Homeopathic medication seeks to stimulate the thyroid gland, by natural means, to regain its normal function. If you are facing any thyroid related complications, do consult your nearest homeopathic doctor for safe, painless, and natural healing treatments.