July 25, 2016
379 Hyperthyroidism [25 July 2016]
For the last three weeks we discussed under-active thyroid problems; this week we’ll look at over-active thyroid. This is a potentially more serious problem than hypothyroidism but fortunately is less common. Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: enlarged thyroid (goiter), bulging eyes, thick red skin on shins and feet, anxiety, heat sensitivity, excess sweating, hair loss, dry or itchy skin, rapid or irregular heartbeat, insomnia, and weight loss.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ Disease (GD) which is an autoimmune disease that triggers increased production of thyroid hormones. In GD the immune system produces an antibody that mimics the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland, resulting in uncontrolled production of thyroid hormones.
The conventional treatment for GD is to control it with anti-thyroid medications, or more aggressively, to surgically remove the thyroid or destroy it with radioactive iodine. The latter options induce hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement for life. In life threatening situations these approaches may be necessary but are not ideal and can have severe side effects. And of course they do nothing to resolve the auto-immune disorder that caused the GD in the first place.
The natural approach to GD deals first with the immune system. Diet and lifestyle modifications include stress reduction, improved sleep, moderate exercise, an anti-inflammatory diet, avoidance of environmental toxins, cleansing, and supplementation. Medications may be required temporarily to lower thyroid hormone levels while the immune system is healing. This is a complicated condition and should only be attempted under the supervision of a knowledgeable and experienced physician or natural healthcare practitioner.
Another factor to consider is testing and treatment for infections with H. pylori and Yersinia enterocolitica both of which have been associated with GD. Testing and support of the adrenal, pituitary, and other endocrine glands is also important.
Sources for information on natural treatments for GD: elaine-moore.com; gravesdiseasecure.com; naturalendocrinesolutions.com; draxe.com/graves-disease.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.