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Is Hyperthyroidism Dangerous?

When it comes to hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease, there are basically two trains of thoughts regarding the how dangerous these conditions really are.  Many medical doctors will dismiss these conditions as not being too dangerous, as I’ve read numerous sources which claim that hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease are not life threatening conditions.  On the other hand, other sources say these conditions can indeed be life threatening if left  untreated.  So the question I wanted to answer here is “how dangerous is hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease?”

In most cases, primary hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease aren’t life threatening conditions.  But the reason for this is because the person who has either one of these conditions usually notices the symptoms before they become too severe, and as a result receive treatment, usually in the form of anti-thyroid drugs or radioactive iodine.  However, if someone has hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease and doesn’t receive any treatment, then the symptoms can eventually be severe enough to become life threatening.  After all, people can develop an extremely high pulse rate, and can even develop a condition called thyroid storm, which is considered to be an emergency situation.  Once again, this is rare, but it can happen, and so to dismiss Graves’ Disease and other types of hyperthyroidism as not being potentially dangerous conditions is a big mistake.

This presents a dilemma for a person who has hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease and is looking to follow a natural treatment protocol.  It usually takes some time for such a protocol to “kick in”, and so if someone has either of these conditions and is not currently taking the anti-thyroid drugs or a beta blocker, should they follow a natural thyroid treatment protocol and wait until they take effect?  Or should they “play it safe” and take the medication?

This obviously is a decision that only the person with the hyperthyroid condition can make.  This is also a big reason why I don’t think it’s a bad idea to combine different treatment options.  For example, someone who is interested in following a natural thyroid treatment protocol can always take the anti-thyroid drugs and/or a beta blocker to help manage the symptoms, and at the same time begin a natural thyroid treatment protocol.  Then after one or two months they can wean themselves off of the prescription drugs.  Once again, this isn’t a suggestion as to what you should do, as this is only a decision that you can make on your own.

Some people wonder why I personally didn’t combine treatment methods when I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, as I decided not to take the Methimazole and beta blocker that was prescribed to me, and I just began a natural hyperthyroid treatment protocol.  As I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past, I did consider taking the medication on a temporary basis, but I didn’t think my symptoms were too severe.  My pulse rate was consistently around 90-100 beats per minute, which is without question high (especially for me), but at this point it’s usually not life threatening.  On the other hand, for someone who has an existing heart condition, having a pulse rate this high can be very risky not to manage.  And since some people do have underlying heart conditions, I would never tell anyone not to manage their symptoms, regardless of their heart rate.

Truth to be told, I was taking a risk by not taking the prescription drugs, as there was no surefire way to predict whether or not something was going to happen to me.  Although I believe my heart is in good health, there have been many people who considered themselves to be in an excellent state of health as well, but then they shortly suffered a heart attack.  Heck, I thought I was healthy a few months before being diagnosed with Graves’ Disease!  This isn’t meant to scare anybody, as I just don’t want anyone to make their decision not to take prescription drugs based on what I did.  If you feel really strong about not taking drugs and decide not to take any medication, then that’s fine.  But once again, it’s a decision YOU need to make.

So I will conclude this post by saying that any hyperthyroid condition has the potential to be life threatening if the symptoms become too severe.  Although it’s very rare for people to die from hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease, there is always a risk involved if the person’s pulse rate is too high.  Because of this, there’s nothing wroing with taking anti-thyroid drugs on a temporary basis to manage the symptoms, and you can also begin a natural thyroid treatment protocol at the same time if your ultimate goal is to restore your health back to normal.  Just make sure you consult with a endocrinologist or another type of medical doctor regarding the anti-thyroid drugs, and a natural endocrine doctor with regards to the natural treatment methods.


 

13 Comments

  1. Andrea Williams says:

    What about the depression that can be caused by hypo? It could kill. I can NOT take SSRI medications anymore and my depression is debilitating.

  2. amanda says:

    Can you do an article on actual Natural remeides? What foods to eat and not eat, things like that. Maybe something on adrenals and how to know if that is waht is causing your Graves.

  3. Chita says:

    Thank you so much for this post, even though it is 2 years old. I was recently diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and graves’ disease. I have chosen to go the natural route. I’m currently seeing an accupuncturist who has had success in treating Hyper/Graves’. I’d be interested in having a conversation regarding your current health and your road to remission.

  4. Moza says:

    Hi,
    I have hyperthyroidism too. I’m a 19 year old girl, and I stopped the meds for a while which made me in danger. I did eventually admitted into hospital and diagnosed with thyroid storm. So, I took my meds again. My place is usually around 120 or a bit more. Is that too much? Another question… Does untreated hyperthyroid lead to Graves disease. Please answer me :)

  5. Moza says:

    Sorry I mean my pulse – HR. Sorry for the typos.
    Regards,
    Moza

  6. Dr. Eric says:

    Hi Moza,

    Even though I’m an advocate of natural treatment methods, I do think it’s important for people to manage the hyperthyroid symptoms, which I’ve mentioned numerous times in past articles and blog posts. So it’s fine to take the medication, although while one is doing this I feel it’s important to attempt to detect and correct the cause of the problem. A pulse rate of 120 beats per minute is quite high, and if the medication isn’t controlling this then your medical doctor should make the appropriate adjustments, which might mean increasing the dosage of the antithyroid medication, or perhaps adding a beta blocker if absolutely necessary. To answer your second question, most cases of hyperthyroidism are autoimmune. It is possible that someone who has a non-autoimmune case of hyperthyroidism can develop Graves’ Disease, but this usually doesn’t work in stages. In other words, someone usually develops Graves’ Disease right from the start.

  7. Ann says:

    I’m pregnant and diagnosed that i have hyperthyrodism. Is it safe to take anti thyroid drugs? What about propanolol?

  8. Dr. Eric says:

    Hi Ann,

    I can’t say it’s completely safe to take the antithyroid medication when pregnant, but everything comes down to risks vs. benefits, and in many cases it’s a good idea for women with hyperthyroidism to take the medication. Usually they will give PTU during the first trimester, and many times they switch to methimazole during the last 2 trimesters. Chances are propranolol won’t be prescribed, although these of course are questions you can ask your medical doctor.

  9. Sid says:

    My girlfriend has hyperthyroidism. Even her father has hyperthyroidism. She is supposed to take pills everyday but she doesn’t. Will it become dangerous later? Right now i don’t see any symptoms other than she is thin and doesn’t sleep much(about 3-4 hours a day).

  10. Dr. Eric says:

    Hi Sid,

    The main concern is that unmanaged hyperthyroidism can lead to thyroid storm, heart arrhythmias, and other serious issues. This is especially true if she has very high thyroid hormone levels and/or an elevated heart rate.

  11. willie says:

    *
    = 4 + 2

 
 
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