Hyperthyroid (Graves Disease)
Dr. Weyrich's Naturopathic Functional Medicine Notebook
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Hyperthyroid disease can have many causes, including autoimmune disease, disorders of the pituitary
or hypothalmus, or tumors. The end result of any of these causes is overrelease of the thyroid hormone T4
into the blood stream, which in turn over-stimulates the body's metabolism, causing symptoms such as
fevers, rapid heart rate, and weight loss. Treatment depends on proper diagnosis of the underlying cause.
- Graves disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body produces an antibody against the thyroid
receptors called TSI (Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin). When this auto-antibody binds to the thyroid
receptors, the thyroid gland is stimulated to release more T4 hormone than is needed.
- Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body produces an antibody against the enzyme
thyroid peroxidase (TPO) that is found in the thyroid gland. This results in an attack on the thyroid gland
that damages the tissues of the gland, causing episodes in which excess T4 hormone is released that alternate
with episodes in which too little T4 hormone is released from the dammaged gland.
- Pituitary disorders can cause excess Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) hormone to be released,
which over-stimulates the thyroid gland to release excess T4.
- Disorders in the hypothalmus can cause excess Thyroid Releaseing Hormone (TRH) to be released,
which over-stimulates the pituitary gland to release excess TSH.
- Thyroid tumors can also lead to release of excess T4.
- Elevated basal body temperature.
Normal axillary temperature is 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Farenheit.
Normal rectal temperature is 98.6 to 99.2 degrees Farenheit [Starr2005, pg 17].
See hypothyroid for directions for measuring.
- Elevated basal metabolic rate.
- Heat intolerance.
- Constant sweating [Starr2005, pg 78].
- Anxiety, nervousness.
- Elevated heart rate.
- Palpatations [Starr2005, pg 78].
- Underweight or unexplained weight loss.
- Frequent stools or diarrhea [Starr2005, pg 78].
Treatment depends on proper diagnosis of the underlying cause. If the underlying cause cannot be resolved,
then it is often necessary to destroy all or part of the thyroid gland in order to prevent life-threatening
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Unless specifically noted above, references used in the construction of this web
page include the following:
Lecture notes from Functional Medicine University.
Lecture notes from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Lecture notes from the University of Tennessee graduate programs in
Chemistry and Biochemistry.
[Starr2005] Mark Starr. Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic.
Columbia, MO: Mark Starr Trust (2005).
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(Naturopathic Medical license number 07-1008).
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