The thyroid is a large gland that sits in the throat, wrapped around wind pipe. It is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body. It releases unique hormones that control metabolism, body temperature, as well as the body’s sensitivity to other hormones. Proper balance and regulation of the activity of this gland is obviously quite important.



When the thyroid releases insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, this is called hypo-thyroidism. When the thyroid is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormone, this is called hyper- thyroidism.



More often than not, most people have no idea if their thyroid is functioning properly or not, unless it is serious malfunctioning, and even then the symptoms can often masquerade as other conditions.



The other difficulty with recognizing thyroid imbalance is that symptoms typically start very mild and slowly increase in severity, sometimes taking years. This slow and insidious development is often mistaken as a sign of aging, or a personality quirk, or some other benign or non-serious condition.



The physical symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:



increased perspiration

 

heart racing

 

hand tremors

 

difficulty sleeping

 

thinning of the skin

 

hair loss

 

muscular weakness — especially in the upper arms and thighs

 

muscle aches

 

More frequent bowel movements, diarrhea is uncommon

 

Weight loss, sometimes significant, may occur despite good appetite

 

vomiting

 

menstrual flow may lighten and menstrual periods may occur less often.



Other major symptoms can also occur, including psychological symptoms such as: anxiety, intolerance to heat, fatigue, hyperactivity, irritability, hypoglycemia, apathy, and delirium.



Hyperthyroidism can also cause heart palpitations and arrhythmias (the notable ones being atrial fibrillation), shortness of breath (dyspnea), loss of libido, amenorrhea, gynaecomastia and feminization. Long term untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to osteoporosis, in fact some of the original descriptions of hyperthyroidism talked about autopsies where “worm tunnels” were bored into the bones of those with hyperthyroidism.



While hyperthyroidism can be caused by several different factors, 90% of the hyperthyroidism in the United States is caused by an autoimmune condition called Grave’s Disease.



Grave’s disease is where the body manufactures auto-antibodies that attack thyroid tissue and stimulate the thyroid into hyperactivity. The typical physical signs of Grave’s disease are: an enlarged thyroid gland (called goiter), bulging of the eyes caused by inflammation of the eye muscle, as well as eye-lid retraction. These symptoms, however, do not always appear when someone has Grave’s disease and it is entirely possible to have Grave’s disease and not have any of those symptoms.



While the cause of Grave’s disease, and all autoimmune diseases, is a disputed subject the factors are typically considered to be some combination of genetics, environment, and, to a greater or lesser extent, diet.



To those with a firm understanding of autoimmune conditions often recognize the very strong correlation with chronic inflammation and the development of autoimmune diseases, such as Grave’s disease. There can be many potential sources of inflammation in the thyroid gland, which may eventually manifest into Grave’s disease and hyperthyroidism. Food allergies, heavy metals, bacterial infections, chemical toxins, etc. can cause inflammatory responses in the thyroid and the rest of the endocrine system, as well as other parts of the body including organs. It must be said, however, that there are many in the mainstream medical community who would disagree and say that there is no confirmed dietary or environmental cause of Grave’s disease.



While it may very well be true that the ultimate cause of Grave’s disease, and in fact any autoimmune disease, will not be known for decades to come, there is enough empirical evidence to suggest that diet, environment, and lifestyle have a strong impact on the disease and that if these areas cause or exacerbate the disease, their modification can lead to prevention and/or remission.



While the cause may be disputed, it is plain fact that recognizing the signs and getting a proper diagnosis as early as possible affords the best chance of both prevention and treatment of the disease. Because the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and Grave’s disease are sometimes inconsistent, the best tool to confirm diagnosis is a blood test to detect thyroid hormone antibodies.



Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, the conventional medicine approach usually rests on three options: anti-thyroid medications, oral radioactive iodine to partially or completely destroy the thyroid, or surgery (thyroidectomy).



The antithyroid drugs are not always effective, and after stopping the medication relapse is not uncommon. These medication also have serious side effects including anemia and liver failure. Medication is typically the first option patients resort to, but if it is ineffective they must then consider either radiation or surgery.



Radioactive iodine-131, or RAI has been used since the 1940s to gradually destroy the hyperactive thyroid tissue. However, one of the major downsides to this therapy is that in approximately 80% of those who undergo this therapy, often develop hypo-thyroidism, which is an underperforming thyroid, which is considered a life-long condition that requires supplementation of thyroid hormones. This essentially means that the patients must choose between one form of decreased life quality over another. Choices like these definitely don’t contribute to a low-stress lifestyle.



If for some reason RAI is not an option (pregnancy, cancer, etc.) then surgery is the next route. All surgeries run the risk of anesthetic and other complications, as well as hypothyroidism as well. 



This has been the three-road option for hyperthyroidism since the 1940s and there is little evidence that conventional medicine will adopt any new approaches for years to come.



Because of the aggressive and toxic nature of these conventional therapies, many people are searching for more natural and gentler alternatives. For the past 10 years, we at the Wellness Center have been using a dynamic program for hyperthyroidism and Grave’s disease (as well as other autoimmune conditions) that has an incredible track record of success.



It’s a multi-stage process that utilizes very advanced testing. Blood testing, hormone testing, as well as genetic testing to allow us to determine what your specific inflammatory triggers are. Each person’s triggers are unique and very specific. This in-depth testing is critical in order to determine if the inflammation in the thyroid is being caused or exacerbated by, hormonal imbalances, toxins, food or environmental allergens and so on.



Once the triggers have been identified, a very specific individualized program is developed that addresses the exact triggers outlined by the testing. Some of the more common elements of such a program may include:



Anti-inflammatory diet

 

Allergy elimination diet

 

Homeopathics

 

Nutrient supplementation

 

Detoxification



Not every element above is appropriate for each person. Because of each person’s unique genetics and lifestyle, each program is equally unique in order to address each person’s exact needs.



Our method is very successful simply because it utilizes information that the conventional therapies ignore, individuality. The efficacy of our program is evidenced by our track record, which speaks for itself.



Hyperthyroidism and Grave’s disease does not have to be a downward spiral towards misery and disability. Early on, you should treat it as a red flag that there is something you are doing, eating, or being exposed to that is making your body extremely unhappy. If you can find and identify those dietary, lifestyle, or environmental factors, you can regain control of your body and take back your life.