Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland in your neck is overactive and prompts the releases too much thyroid-stimulating hormone, causing problems with the nervous and cardiac systems. Symptoms of the condition include sudden weight changes, increased appetite, anxiety, feeling hot, trouble sleeping, and sweating. Treatments for hyperthyroidism are varied.
Radioactive iodine works by shrinking the thyroid gland, causing it to release fewer hormones, and usually requires three to six months to take proper effect. The treatment is used in 70 percent of cases of hyperthyroidism and is widely considered to be safe. The downside to radioactive iodine is that your thyroid can begin to rely on it, leading to underactivity or hypothyroidism.
Beta blockers can help alleviate symptoms. This medication, which doctors usually prescribe for high blood pressure, don’t change the amount of thyroid hormone your body is producing, but rather change the way the excess hormones affect the body. Side effects of beta blockers include headache, dizziness, and digestive issues. Your doctor will discuss these medications with you when deciding on the proper course of treatment.
Surgery usually isn’t an option unless you aren’t able to take any hyperthyroidism medication. Most of the time, a thyroidectomy will be performed, which means removal of the entire thyroid gland. If your medical provider chooses this option, you will need to take medication for the rest of your life to replace the role the thyroid used to play in supplying your body with the proper amount of thyroid hormones.
Graves disease, which generally affects the eyes, can cause hyperthyroidism. If a doctor determines this is the cause of your condition, eye surgery could be an option. Two different surgeries may help. The first is an orbital decompression surgery that involves removing the bone between your sinuses and eye socket to make room for your eye to move back into its regular position. The second surgery is an eye muscle surgery used to correct double vision associated with Graves disease. Your eyes can become covered in scar tissue due to hyperthyroidism, and this surgery aims to correct it.
Anti-thyroid agents can block the release of excess thyroid hormone. If your hyperthyroidism is reversible, this medication may be discussed as a treatment. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience side effects like fever and sore throat, as these symptoms can indicate agranulocytosis, which can cause a reduced white blood cell count.
Sometimes, changes to your diet are enough to reverse hyperthyroidism. Your doctor may recommend a low-iodine diet, which encourages foods such as non-iodized salt, fresh fruit and vegetables, coffee or tea without cream, homemade bread without salt, honey, potatoes, and oats. Your doctor may also recommend you avoid high-iodine foods including seafood, dairy, food with nitrates, cheese, or egg yolks.
Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements
Adding supplements and foods high in calcium and vitamin D has been proven to help lower thyroid hormone levels. Spinach, collard greens, kale, okra, orange juice, and almond milk are all high in calcium. Foods high in vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, and mushrooms. Your doctor may recommend increasing your intake of these nutrients before putting you on prescription medications.
In some cases, essential oils can help with thyroid function. Frankincense is said to reduce stress on the body. To use it, you put two to three drops on the roof of your mouth, once daily. Another oil that helps improve thyroid function is myrrh, which can be placed on the neck at the site of the thyroid gland. Before using the oils alone, consult your doctor. Hyperthyroidism can cause complications, and it is best to get a professional opinion before trying any homeopathic remedies.
Lubricating Eye Drops for Graves Disease
When you have hyperthyroidism caused by Graves disease, your eyes may be dry constantly. To combat this, your medical provider will recommend lubricating eye drops, as well as a gel-like eye drop to use at night. Cold compresses may also help alleviate the symptoms of dry eye, due to the extra moisture they provide. If you notice your symptoms are getting worse, make an appointment to see your doctor and rule out other illnesses.
Over-the-Counter Creams for Swelling
With hyperthyroidism and Graves disease, you may notice some swelling and skin redness on your shins and knees. Special anti-inflammatory over-the-counter creams can help reduce redness and swelling and alleviate the pain that often accompanies swelling. If the swelling becomes severe, contact your doctor.