If you are experiencing the eye changes associated with Graves’ disease, the symptoms may improve once your hyperthyroidism is under control. In some cases, however, the condition progresses, despite all thyroid gland treatments. In these situations strong drugs such as oral steroids (prednisone) or immunosuppressants (cyclosporin) can be used to minimize swelling and reduce pressure on the optic nerve.
Cyclosporin drugs have produced good results in controlling eye symptoms in the earlier stages of Graves’ disease but they are less effective once the disease reaches an advanced stage. Your specialist may consider radioactive treatments and surgery to remove some bone from the eye orbit to reduce swelling and prevent nerve damage. Simple ways to help you cope with your eye changes include using eye drops and eye lubricants, sleeping with the head of your bed elevated and wearing eyeglasses with prisms to improve double vision. If you are a cigarette smoker, bear in mind that smoking makes eye symptoms worse and reduces your response to treatment.
Thyroid Disease Eye Symptoms Photo Gallery
Managing Thyroid Disease DIETARY STRATEGIES Weight Control
Weight gain is a concern for women with both types of thyroid disease—hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. In the case of an underactive thyroid gland, a deficiency of thyroid hormones leads to a general decline in the rate at which your body burns carbohydrates, protein and fat for energy. As a result, weight gain is common in hypothyroidism. And it is more difficult (but not impossible) to lose weight if your thyroid hormone levels are not in a correct balance.
If you’ve been treated for hyperthyroidism, you are also at risk for gaining weight. In fact, some research suggests that up to 50 percent of women with hyperthyroidism report weight problems after therapy. Weight gain can occur for two reasons. When your thyroid hormones return to lower, normal levels your metabolic rate slows down. This means your body will burn fewer calories each day. Secondly, if you do not reduce your food intake to match your lower metabolism, the pounds can creep on. Many women increase their food intake when they are experiencing the disease to prevent weight loss. It can be easy to get used to eating more, even once treatment has ended.
If you are suffering from hypothyroidism and have difficulty controlling your weight, or if you have Graves’ disease and you now weigh more than you did before you were afflicted with the condition, examine your eating habits to determine where you are going wrong. Keep a food diary for two weeks. Just writing down what you eat often highlights your dietary discrepancies. I always have my clients keep a food diary before they come to see me. They are often surprised to learn how much and what they eat. There’s nothing like seeing it in black and white! For some women, keeping a daily journal is all the motivation you need to make healthy food choices and lose weight.
For some other strategies that will help you lose your excess weight, read the section on weight control in chapter 2.