Named after an Irish physician, Robert Graves, who described the ailment, Graves’ disease is an autoimmune illness resulting in a hyperactive thyroid gland. This causes the gland to overproduce thyroid hormones. As an autoimmune disease, the thyroid-stimulating hormone (antibodies) deceives the gland to yield more hormones than the body requires.
How it’s Diagnosed
Your doctor can conduct several tests to determine the existence of Graves’ disease, when suspected. There are laboratory tests for Graves’ disease including thyroxine, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Antibodies. Your provider will also look into your family’s medical history and symptoms as symmetrical enlargement of thyroid gland, vitiligo, and rheumatoid arthritis, among others.
How it’s Treated
Typically, patients can choose to have this disease treated through medication, which help prevent the thyroid from producing too many hormones. If medication does not work, some have Radioactive Iodine to eliminate tissue cells. When these two are ineffective, there are those who opt for surgery for thyroid removal.
How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Helps
In addition to traditional Graves’ disease treatment is Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). While for most people taking medications for Graves’, Acupuncture has proven helpful in reducing inflammation, supporting sleep and proper digestion and managing the body’s response to stress.
For some people, herbal medicine is another layer of support that can help with their condition. And we’ve found, that everyone benefits from dietary and nutritional guidance and support.
Food Suggestions for Autoimmunity
Treatment for hyperthyroidism does not end with medication or alternative treatments. A big part of managing life with Graves’ disease (or any autoimmune condition) is proper diet for optimal nutrition intake to support the body’s natural functioning. Some of the foods that you can enjoy include:
- Meat and Fish
- Select vegetables (no nightshades)
- Sweet potatoes
- Fruits (in small amounts)
- Coconut milk
- Fermented products (non-dairy) like kombucha and kimchi
- Honey (and natural sweeteners like Monk Fruit)
- Green tea and non-seed herbal teas