Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid, which causes it to become overactive. Although a number of disorders may result in hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease the most common cause. Graves’ disease can affect anyone, it’s more common among women and in people younger than age 40.
It can be hard to diagnose and treat Graves’ disease because many people who have symptoms of abnormal thyroid activity also experience symptoms that can confused with other disorders. Therefore it can sometimes be hard for a Graves patient to receive the correct diagnosis leading to a lot of confusion, frustration and uncertainty.
One of the areas that sets homeopathy apart from conventional medicine is that in homeopathy, we treat the symptoms and not necessarily the diagnosis. What you are experiencing at that time, both mentally and physically. You do not necessarily have to wait for the correct diagnosis before you can begin treatment. By being prescribed the homeopathic remedies most pertinent to your symptoms plus diet changes and supplementation symptoms can be managed or resolved.
Thyroid hormones affect many body systems, so signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease can be wide ranging.
- Anxiety and irritability
- A fine tremor of the hands or fingers
- Heat sensitivity and an increase in perspiration or warm, moist skin
- Weight loss, despite normal eating habits
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)
- Change in menstrual cycles
- Erectile dysfunction or reduced libido
- Frequent bowel movements
- Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)
- Thick, red skin usually on the shins or tops of the feet (Graves’ dermopathy)
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
- Sleep disturbance
Complications of Graves’ Disease
A small percentage of all Graves’ patients will develop a condition called thyroid eye disease in which your eye muscles and tissues become swollen. This can cause exophthalmos — your eyeballs protrude from their sockets — and is considered a hallmark of Graves’ disease, even though it’s rare.
Some people with Graves’ may develop a rare skin condition known as pretibial myxedema or Graves’ dermopathy. It is a lumpy reddish thickening of the skin on the shins. It is usually painless and is not serious. Like exophthalmos this condition does not necessarily begin with the onset of Graves’ and doesn’t have to do with how severe your disease is.
80% of patients who develop autoimmune disorders classify themselves as having suffered from high amounts of stress and stress has long been the recognised as a precipitating factor for the development of Graves disease. Studies now support what Homeopaths have often concluded, that the onset of Graves’ often follows some kind of emotional shock such as divorce, death or difficult separations. This is because immune system hyperactivity can precipitate autoimmune thyroid disease.
A stressful lifestyle can also trigger Graves. So it is important to try to put measures in place to reduce stress such a regular yoga practice, gentle exercise, meditation and making time to relax and recuperate.
Smoking is a widely recognised risk factor of hyperthyroidism and particularly Graves. It depends of course on the amount smoked but is more prevalent in women than in men.
Genetic susceptibility contributes to 20-30% of Graves and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Infective organisms such as H.pylori, Yersina enterocolitica and Borrelia burgdorferi can be associated with the onset of Graves disease.
Microflora imbalance in GIT
Poor digestion and elimination
Food additives, agricultural chemical run-off, environmental pollutants, chemical exposure, household cleaners and sprays. Herbicides, pesticides and hair dyes.
Excessive Iodine supplementation
People with a depressive disorder (especially women).
Quercetin and Bioflavanoids
Omega 3 fatty acids
R- Alpha lipoic acid
*Make sure that supplements do not contain any iodine as many multi-vitamins contain Iodine.
Cratagus Monogyna (Hawthorn)
Iris Versicolour (Blue Flag)
St Mary’s thistle
Protein (due to high energy output)
Brassica family (Broccoli, cabbage etc, especially raw cabbage).
Iodine rich foods such as Seaweed
Stimulants such as Caffeine, sugar and alcohol
Vegan and Vegetarians have a lower risk of developing hyperthyroidism
Homeopathy can be very effective in treating Graves’ disease and can address this condition even if it is due to an inherited susceptibility. As homeopathy can get to the root cause of a condition, and works to correct it. Diet, herbs and supplements will all contribute to the healing process but I believe that it is the Homeopathic remedies that are able to facilitate the biggest and fastest change.