Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Graves’ disease refers to a disorder of one’s immune system that leads to overproduction of thyroid hormones in humans. This problem causes many physical reactions, such as rapid heartbeat rate, weight loss, sweating and changes to skin, nails and bones.

In addition, Graves’s opthalmopathy affects one’s eyes separately, as in that case, immune system of a person targets the area present nearby the patient's eyes and causes redness, inflammation, pink eye, bulging eyes and eyelid retraction problems. Furthermore, in extreme cases of this problem, swelling in the eye muscles put an excessive pressure on human’s optical nerve resulting in vision loss or double vision.

Can you be Cured of Graves’ Disease?

Can you be Cured of Graves’ Disease?

Graves’ opthalmopathy or simply Graves’ disease is not curable completely. However, with appropriate treatment, one can reduce its effects. The main objective of the treatment is to control hyperthyroidism i.e. over-production of thyroid-related hormones.

Antithyroid Medicines

Antithyroid medicines or drugs prevent one’s thyroid to produce hormones. PTU i.e. propylthiouracil and Methimazole are generic medicines, which interfere with thyroid glands to control the ability of producing hormones. Although, these medicines are helpful in relieving symptoms within a period of only few weeks, the problem of hyperthyroidism may return after you stop taking the drug.

RAI Treatment

Some doctors prefer for RAI i.e. Radioactive Treatment, as antithyroid medicines fail to provide long-term solutions to hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease and surgical complications become severe. In this situation, doctors give RAI in the form of a capsule or as a water-based solution. You may require about a few months to make the treatment effective and in some cases, you require repeat dosages. Radioactive iodine performs its functions by simple destroying of cells present in thyroid tissues and thereby, reduces the thyroid hormone levels. The main objective of RAI treatment is to leave thyroid tissues in adequate level for the production of healthy balance of its hormones.

Surgery to Cure Hyperthyroidism

Some patients require surgery to treat Graves’ diseases for many reasons. A few of them need surgery, as they fail to tolerate the anti-thyroid medicine or RAI and in other cases, the mentioned treatments fail to give good results. If surgery forms the best treatment option, doctors will explain both the benefits and potential complications before the procedure.

Your general physician will recommend you to an endocrine surgeon or an ENT surgeon to undergo with thyroidectomy surgery i.e. total or partial removal of thyroid. These experts perform the surgery by giving a general anesthesia, while the procedure requires many hours. For this, surgeon makes a small incision in the throat or front part of one’s neck to remove a particular part or the complete thyroid as a whole. For this, the surgeon discusses the details related to the operation, such as benefits and risks with both patients and their family members.

Possible complications post thyroidectomy surgery are bleeding, infection, obstruction in the airway, hoarseness in one’s voice and abnormally low levels of calcium in the blood. Although complete removal of the thyroid treats the problem of hyperthyroidism effectively in many patients, it often leads to hypothyroidism. Therefore, patients undergoing with total thyroidectomy should intake the necessary thyroid replacement hormone on a daily basis. Endocrinologist or any other doctor will determine the appropriate dosage you should take and monitor its effects several times in a year based on your blood tests.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 16, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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