Graves’ Disease VS Hyperthyroidism- Are They The Same?
Graves’ disease vs hyperthyroidism: Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism are not the same. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones, while Hyperthyroidism is a condition that can be caused by several different things, including Graves’ disease, but also by other conditions such as an overactive thyroid gland or taking too much thyroid hormone medication. So while they both result in high levels of thyroid hormone in the body, they are not the same condition.
Table of Contents hide
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
Treatment of hyperthyroidism
What is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition where there’s TSH receptor antibodies that are causing the hyperthyroidism. These TSH receptor antibodies are pathological proteins that mimic TSH and stimulate the thyroid gland’s TSH receptors, causing them to release thyroid hormone. Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
How is Graves Disease Diagnosed?
There are a few different ways that doctors can diagnose Graves’ disease. One way is to look for antibodies in the blood. These antibodies are produced by the immune system and can be a sign that the body is attacking the thyroid gland.
Another way to diagnose Graves’ disease is to do a thyroid function test. This test measures how well the thyroid gland is working by testing thyroid hormones levels, T3, T3RU, T4, and TSH. If the results of the test show that the thyroid gland is overactive (too much thyroid hormones in the blood stream) with high antibodies, it may be a sign of Graves’ disease.
Graves’ Disease Antibodies
There are four main types of antibodies that are associated with Grave’s disease:
1. Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSIs)
2. Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOs)
3. Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (TGs)
4. Anti-thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TSHRAs)
TSIs are the most common type of antibody found in people with Grave’s disease and are thought to be the main cause of the overactivity of the thyroid gland. TPOs are also relatively common, while TGs and TSHRAs are less so. However, all four types of antibodies can be present in people with Grave’s disease.
Common Symptoms of Graves’ Disease
Symptoms of graves’ disease are: Fatigue, Weight loss, Increased appetite, Nervousness, irritability, Heat intolerance, Sweating, Palpitations, Tremors in your hands or fingers, Difficulty sleeping, Muscle weakness, Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), and more.
Graves’ Disease Related Conditions
There are a couple of thyroid conditions that are unique to Graves’ disease, and these all relate to the presence of TSH receptor antibodies:
A condition in which the thyroid gland enlarges and produces too much thyroid hormone.
Exopthalmos is the medical term for bulging of the eyeball from the eye socket. In most cases, exophthalmos is caused by Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that leads to inflammation and swelling of the tissues behind the eyeball. This can cause the eyeball to be forced forward, resulting in exophthalmos. Although exophthalmos can be uncomfortable and cause cosmetic concerns, it is usually not a serious condition.
Pretibial myxedema is a dermatological condition characterized by deposits of mucin under the skin on the anterior aspect of the leg or the pretibial area. This gives the skin over this area a discolored, waxy, dimittis-type appearance. Pretibial myxedema is very specific to Graves’ disease and is caused by a reaction of the tissues under the skin to the TSH receptor antibodies.
Pretibial myxedema is relatively rare, occurring in only about 5% of people with Graves’ disease. It most often appears after several years of Graves’ disease, and is more common in women than men. While it can occur at any age, it is most commonly seen in middle-aged or elderly people.
Pretibial myxedema is not painful, but can be cosmetically displeasing. It is also associated with a higher risk of developing skin cancer in the affected area. Treatment for pretibial myxedema typically involves medications that suppress the immune system, such as methotrexate or steroids. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected tissue.
Complications of Graves’ Disease
If you have Graves’ disease, you may experience a number of complications, including:
-Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism, also known as an overactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This is not necessary related to high thyroid antibodies like grave’s disease and other issues may trigger the condition.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
Thyrotoxicosis is a condition that occurs when there is an abnormal and excessive quantity of thyroid hormone in the body.
Primary hyperthyroidism is due to thyroid pathology, so it’s a thyroid itself that’s behaving abnormally and producing too much thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone production is regulated by a delicate feedback system involving the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and thyroid gland. This system helps to ensure that the right amount of thyroid hormone is produced and released into the blood stream.
Secondary hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid is overstimulated by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), resulting in excessive production of thyroid hormone. The pathology lies in the hypothalamus or the pituitary producing too much TSH which is causing the high thyroid output.
Toxic Multinodular Goiter
Toxic multinodular goiter, also known as plumbers disease, is a condition where there are firm nodules developing in the thyroid gland and these nodules act independently from the normal feedback system and continuously produce excessive thyroid hormone.
Most patients with toxic multinodular goitre are above fifty years old, and just as a reference point: toxic multinodular goitre is the second most common cause of thyrotoxicosis.
This is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor on the thyroid that produces excess thyroid hormone.
Solitary Toxic Thyroid Nodule
is an abnormal thyroid nodule that becomes independent and releases thyroid hormone on its own. These nodules are usually benign and they’re treated quite easily by surgical removal of the nodule which will stop the excess thyroid hormone from being produced.
Thyroid storm is a rare presentation of hyperthyroidism, and it’s also known as thyrotoxic crisis. This is where there’s a more acute severe presentation of the hyperthyroidism where the patient will get pyrexia tachycardia and may have a delirium as well.
It requires admission for monitoring and it’s treated pretty much the same way as thyrotoxicosis. Although, additional interventions might be needed, such as fluid resuscitation, antiarrhythmic drugs (if arrhythmia is present due to the thyrotoxicosis), and beta blockers can be helpful to treat the symptoms.
This is an inflammation of the thyroid that can be caused by a viral infection or other condition. It typically results in a temporary increase in thyroid hormone levels.
Excess Iodine Intake
Consuming large amounts of iodine can cause the thyroid to produce too much hormone. This is more likely to occur in areas where iodine is not commonly found in the diet, such as parts of Asia and Africa.
During pregnancy, the body’s demand for thyroid hormone increases. This can cause the thyroid to increase in size and produce more hormone than usual. In most cases, this is a temporary condition that resolves after pregnancy.
Some drugs can interfere with the way the thyroid gland works, causing it to produce too much hormone. These drugs include lithium, interferon alpha, and amiodarone.
Thyroiditis: This is an inflammation of the thyroid that can be caused by autoimmune disease, infection, or other conditions. It can lead to either temporary or permanent hyperthyroidism.
How is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed?
There are several blood tests that can be used to diagnose hyperthyroidism. The most common is the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test. This measures the level of TSH in your blood and can help to indicate whether your thyroid is overactive or underactive.
Other tests that may be used include the thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) levels, which can give an indication of how much hormone is being produced by the thyroid. In some cases, a radioactive iodine uptake test may also be requested. This involves drinking a small amount of radioactive iodine and then measuring how much is taken up by the thyroid gland. This can help to show whether the gland is overactive or underactive.
Common Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
The following symptoms may occur with high thyroid hormones level in the body: are: anxiety and irritability, sweating and heat intolerance, tachycardia or a fast heart rate, weight loss, fatigue- even with a high thyroid hormones level you feel exhausted all the time, frequent loose stools, and sexual dysfunction.
Management of Hyperthyroidism & Graves’ disease
In the following section we are going to explore the most common allopathic approaches for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and graves’ disease, such as synthetic drugs, pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures and surgery.
We are also going to explore natural alternative solutions that address the root cause- inflammation of the cells.
Treatment of hyperthyroidism
Allopathic approach- Drugs and Pharmaceuticals
The knowledge that we share here is basically summarized from the nice clinical knowledge summaries from 2016.
Hyperthyroid disease usually requires medicine, radio-ionic therapy, or surgery. The treatment of hyperthyroidism will be guided by a specialist as the medication requires a prescription and have quite strong potential for side effects.
The first-line anti-thyroid drug to treat hyperthyroidism is carbimazole. It’s usually successful in treating patients with Graves’ disease and leaves them with normal thyroid function after about four to eight weeks.
Once the patient has normal thyroid function they can continue on a maintenance dose of carbimazole. Then, either, this dose is titrated to maintain normal levels and this is known as titration block, or the given dose is too high which blocks all production of thyroid hormone and requires the thyroid hormone to be replaced with levothyroxine and titrated to symptoms. this is known as block and replace.
Complete remission and the ability to stop the carbimazole is usually achieved after about eighteen months of treatment.
Second line treatment for hyperthyroidism is propylthiouracil. This is used in a very similar way to carbimazole, but there’s a small risk of severe hepatic or liver reactions. These reactions can be severe enough to cause death, which is why carbimazole is the preferred option.
This procedure requires drinking a liquid that contains a dose of radioactive iodine. The iodine then is taken up by the thyroid gland and the radiation that’s emitted into the local area destroys a portion or all thyroid cells.
This reduction in functioning of the thyroid cells decreases the amount of thyroid hormone that’s produced, so you have remission from the hyperthyroidism. Remission can take about six months and the patients are actually be left with hypothyroidism afterwards and require levothyroxine replacement (Hypothyroidism drug) for life.
There are also quite strict restrictions as for who can take radioactive iodine treatment:
-You can’t be pregnant and aren’t allowed to get pregnant for at least six months after taking the treatment
-Depending on the dose amount, avoid close contact with children and pregnant women for three weeks. This is due to the danger of radiation exposure to these patients with the radiation.
– Limited contact for a few days after the treatment due to high dose of radiation emitted during this period.
Beta Blockers for Hyperthyroidism
Beta blockers don’t actually treat the hyperthyroidism but they used to block the adrenaline related symptoms in hyperthyroidism. These are things like tachycardia, anxiety, sweating, tremor, all this sort of stuff is improved by blocking that adrenaline drive that you have in hyperthyroidism.
Allopathic approach- Surgery
Thyroid surgery is a procedure where either the entire thyroid, portion of the thyroid, or thyroid nodules are being removed. The procedure is promoted by allopathic doctors as a definitive treatment.
The removal of thyroid tissue completely stops the production of thyroid hormone because you don’t have the thyroid tissue to produce the thyroid hormone anymore, however, the problem is that the patient will be left hypothyroid post thyroidectomy, and require levothyroxine replacement for life, to replace that thyroid hormone that they’re no longer producing. Living whiteout any organ, especially a thyroid gland, involves with harsh symptoms and complications.
How Does Eating Affect Graves’ Disease?
Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, but it’s especially important if you have Graves’ disease.
A healthy diet can help to manage harsh symptoms and may even help to prevent the disease from getting worse.
An alkaline diet consists mostly of fruits and vegetables, which are naturally high in alkalizing compounds is the ideal way to bring the body back to a balanced state. These compounds help to neutralize the acids in our body, resulting in a more balanced pH level.
An alkaline diet of fruits and vegetables have a number of benefits, including reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and helping to detoxify the body.
Some people find that certain foods trigger their hyperthyroidism or graves’ disease symptoms, while others may find that their symptoms are more stable when they eat certain foods. It is important to pay attention to your body and how different foods make you feel.
If you find that certain foods make your symptoms worse, it may be helpful to avoid those foods.
- Can You Live Without Your Thyroid? Natural Health Guide
- Best Herbs for Hyperthyroidism
- How to Heal Hyperthyroidism Naturally with Diet & Herbs
Graves’ Disease vs Hyperthyroidism
There are a few key differences between Graves’ Disease and hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is usually caused by a thyroid nodule or goiter, while Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disorder, caused by high level of antibodies. This means that the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland in people with Graves’ Disease. This can lead to the overproduction of thyroid hormone
The most important course to take when dealing with Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism is to manage the symptoms and keep quality of life as high as possible. A healthy diet is essential for managing the symptoms of Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism, and an alkaline diet consisting mostly of fruits and vegetables is the ideal way to bring the body back to a balanced state.
Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight stabilizes symptoms and keep your Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism under control. Changes in diet can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
Check out our free thyroid natural healing guides and our free alkaline meal plan!
Natural Thyroid Healing Guide
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In the following video, Dr. Morse shares information about why and how we get sick, hence, what weakens and destroys our cells and what environment our cells require in order to heal.
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All the information you need to know about natural thyroid healing is also covered in our free guides:
Hypothyroidism Self- Healing Guide
How To Heal Hyperthyroidism Naturally With Diet & Herbs
Nodule on Thyroid: Is It Cancer? Natural Health Guide
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Different Levels of Detoxification
Different Food Processing Time
Animal Protein Diets Health Risks
Gluten, Grains, Legumes, Seeds – Damaged Thyroid Cells & Autoimmune Diseases
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The Art and Science of Detoxification & Regeneration of Cells
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