Thyroid Series: Graves’ Disease Part #1 Root Causes
To Read About Blog Topic, Scroll Down
If you are a doctor or clinician looking to make a bigger impact on the world, have more job satisfaction and have up-to-date protocols and treatment solutions for your patients, check out our free functional medicine training led by functional medicine expert, Dr. Miles Nichols below.
Get Your Free Training Here
Plus additional BONUS training videos on treating tough cases of brain fog and cognitive impairment!!
Thyroid Series: Graves’ Disease Part #1 Root Causes
** Please note: If you want the longer version of this article with full details, then please click here **
GRAVES disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. In Graves, the immune system makes antibodies that falsely act like TSH, causing the thyroid to create more thyroid hormone than needed.
- Graves affects 1% to 1.5% of the population (Wiersinga, 2019).
- Approximately 3% of women and 0.5% of men develop Graves disease (Wiersinga, 2019). It is more common in women than in men (National Institue of Health, 2020).
- Graves disease is the most common cause of thyroid overactivity (hyperthyroidism) (National Institue of Health, 2020).
Having one autoimmune condition like Graves disease increases the risk of developing other autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes and others.
Untreated Graves disease can lead to a number of issues including heart disorders, osteoporosis and ‘thyroid storm’ (American Thyroid Association, 2020). This is when a sudden and drastic increase in thyroid hormones cause accelerated hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxic crisis, requiring emergency medical attention (American Thyroid Association, 2020).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF GRAVES include:
- Pretibial myxoedema or lesions of the skin, as a result of thyroid disease
- Anxiety, nervousness
- Fatigue, muscle weakness
- Hair and nail changes
- Weight loss
- Increased heart rate
- Increased systolic blood pressure
- Heat intolerance
- Change in libido
- Increased temperature, sweating
- Frequent bowel movements
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Increased appetite
- Enlarged thyroid gland, called a goiter
- Bulging eyes or Graves ophthalmopathy: 25 to 50% of people with Graves disease have eye problems (National Institue of Health, 2020). This can include swelling and inflammation, redness, dryness, puffy eyelids, and a gritty sensation like having sand or dirt in the eyes.
- As an autoimmune disease, Graves is caused by the Triad of Autoimmunity. The Triad of Autoimmunity is:
- A Genetic Tendency
- An Environmental Trigger
- A Leaky Gut
As an immune system issue, we need to review gut health and other impacts on immunity. The environmental triggers are different for each person but are likely to be gut imbalances, infections, nutritional deficiencies, toxic exposures and stress.
All Health Begins in the Gut – Hippocrates
GUT HEALTH: As an autoimmune disease, Grave’s is linked to poor gut health. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is involved, as well as other possible GI problems.
Our article here shows how leaky gut can lead to an overactivated immune system that can attack the thyroid gland.
These are the types of GI issues to look into:
- Intestinal permeability or leaky gut
- Gluten, molecular mimicry & celiac disease
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection
- Anything else that leads to leaky gut is an issue for autoimmune thyroid disease, such as SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), excess alcohol consumption or industrial food processing, infection, iodine, certain drugs, smoking and stress (Shukla SK, 2018).
- Viral or bacterial INFECTIONS
- Excess iodine
- Vitamin D
- Food sensitivities and inflammatory foods
- Cigarette smoking
TESTING FOR GRAVES
There are two antibodies to look for when testing for Graves:
- TSI (thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin)
- TRAb (thyroid stimulating hormone receptor antibodies)
STANDARD TREATMENT FOR GRAVES (Graves Disease Foundation, 2020)
- Anti-thyroid drugs
- Total thyroidectomy surgery
- Radioactive iodine(RAI)
- Radioactive iodine therapy or surgery cause hypothyroidism, requiring thyroid medications for life.
According to conventional medicine, there is no ‘cure’ for Graves (Wiersinga W. , 2019). Medical guidelines state that the aim of a thyroidectomy or RAI treatment in Graves should be permanent hypothyroidism, requiring lifelong Levothyroxine medication to maintain thyroid function (Wiersinga W. , 2019). Creating another disease in order to treat the original disease is not a cure (Wiersinga W. , 2019).
However, in Functional Medicine (FM), we cannot agree with this approach.It is entirely possible to stop the autoimmune attack on the thyroid. Depending on how far the condition has progressed, a case of Graves may be reversable or, at the very least, can be better managed with functional medicine, diet and lifestyle approaches.
*Please read our blog next week on Solutions to Graves disease using Functional Medicine
Love Our Blog And Interested In FREE TRAINING?
FREE Training Includes:
- Access to 27+ Modules of Functional Medicine Coursework
- Live Q and A’s to Answer Your Functional Medicine Questions
- Info on Lab Testing and Easy to Implement Protocols
- To Sign Up Go HERE
Access Our Functional Medicine Training for only $1 for your first month! Check it out and stay if you like. Leave if you don't!
Are You A Clinician Who...
- Wants to deeply impact your clients?
- Struggles with complex cases?
- Lacks ideas?
- Feels frustrated or stuck?
- Wants better results?
- Wants to learn with experts?
- To Sign Up Go HERE.
Are You a Suffering from Chronic Illness?
Does your current health situation look like this…
- Do you feel that you have tried many things and either nothing works, or the treatment does not hold?
- Have you been told that there is nothing that can be done to reverse your illness and you just need to manage symptoms?
- Does your illness impact your work, your family, your happiness and your social life?
We specialize in finding answers and solutions for complicated chronic illness when people feel like they have tried everything. If this sounds like you, book a free call with us to see if we are the right fit for your health goals.
Dr. Miles Nichols has spoken for the following organizations:
Recent Blog Posts
There was a problem reporting this post.
Please confirm you want to block this member.
You will no longer be able to:
- See blocked member's posts
- Mention this member in posts
- Invite this member to groups
- Message this member
Please allow a few minutes for this process to complete.