Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by an overactive thyroid. Among the various symptoms, skin and ophthalmic problems are fairly common. The conventional approach to treating Graves’ disease attempts to suppress the immune system for quick remission of the condition.
Conventional therapies basically attempt to do the following:
- Curtail thyroid hormone production with the aid of immunosuppressive drugs
- Erode some of the thyroid tissue with radioactive iodine therapy - This reduces the amount of thyroid tissue leading to lesser hormone production.
- Remove a large part of the thyroid gland by invasive surgery
In all of the thyroid treatment procedures mentioned above, the end goal is to inhibit thyroid function. The process involves arriving at the correct dose of the drug by trial and error. Sometimes, when the treatment is not followed up properly with regular visits to the doctor even after the overactive thyroid has been corrected, a condition called hypothyroidism can occur. This happens when there is an overcorrection caused by the drugs leading to an under-active thyroid.
Conventional thyroid medications consist of immunosuppressive drugs which are mostly steroids. These require strict monitoring as they give rise to side effects such as excessive weight gain, diabetes, and thinning of bones and skin.
Alternative thyroid treatments, on the other hand, have a totally different approach to the treatment of Graves’ disease. Natural thyroid medication addresses Graves’ disease in a holistic manner. It attempts to curb the overactive system and reduces the production of autoantibodies. It also aids in better production of the suppressor T lymphocytes that would ordinarily stop autoantibodies from forming.
This holistic approach to a disease that actually allows the autoimmune system to be strengthened and toned up is the basic aim of an alternative treatment. The end objective of the treatment is the same as conventional medicine, and all attempts are made to reduce the production of thyroid hormones. However, there is a marked difference in the approach. Drugs suppress symptoms whereas alternative treatments focus on the underlying cause and do not aim at temporary relief by providing only symptomatic relief.
The human body is a complex system and has an inherent capacity to heal itself. During this self-healing process, there are some external symptoms that surface, and they should not be the main focus of the treatment.
Many times it has been observed that the patient has a fair idea of what has caused the disease. Alternative treatments can be useful in eliminating the underlying cause. Stress can create havoc with the autoimmune system and cause the thyroid to produce more hormones. Natural procedures like yoga, meditation, prayers and tai chi are very effective in eliminating stress.
Diet pills and dietary supplements with high iodine content are other triggers that give rise to Graves’ disease. A thyroid-friendly diet plan will ensure that goitrogens, foods which naturally suppress thyroid function, like broccoli, cauliflower, artificial sweeteners, almonds and peaches are avoided. Natural thyroid medications like herbs and homeopathic remedies are effective in curing fundamental causes behind Graves’ disease.