When I diagnose a patient with graves disease in my office in Denver, there are three things that I encourage them to do regardless of level of disease, how old they are or how long they have had it. These three things apply to all patients with graves in my opinion.
Make sure you have an endocrinologist and eye doctor in Denver
If you have Graves disease of the eye, you need someone to monitor your eyes. It is critically important. Make sure that person understands Graves disease and its three components: proptosis or bulging of the eyes, double vision and eyelid retraction. Also, Graves disease in rare cases can cause optic neuropathy or damage to the nerve supplying the eye. It is critical to evaluate graves patients eyes by someone who can protect the vision and quickly make sure to send the patient to an oculoplastic surgeon when needed.
The second person that is important is an endocrinologist. Thyroid dysfunction tends to go hand in hand with graves disease. It is important to have someone checking the thyroid function, controlling it and helping you reach a euthyroid state as quickly as possible.
Join a Graves support group on Facebook
There are a multitude of support groups on Facebook for patients with Graves. By talking to other patients who have had graves, surgery, medications it is a great place to get advice, help others and learn about different options. There are many facebook support groups and it is easy to choose one. Remember, the support groups are best for learning personal experiences but not a great place for medical advice. Not getting treatment because someone on the support group felt “medicine never worked for me” is foolish and dangerous. Use the advice of your doctors for your treatment but gain from people’s experiences and support on facebook.
Stop smoking and start taking selenium
Graves disease is a disease characterized by inflammation. Smoking increases inflammation and makes it worse. Stop smoking immediately. Herbal medicines such as turmeric, omega fish oil and others reduce inflammation. Selenium also has been shown to reduce the signs and symptoms of graves disease.
These are just three things that are key for patients that are newly diagnosed with Graves disease. There are many others things to know about graves disease which are found my other articles on Graves disease. Seeing an oculoplastic surgeon can help you understand what can be done about your eyes, determine a timeline for treatment if needed and help you learn about all the treatment options.