Discharge Instructions for Graves' Disease
You have been diagnosed with Graves' disease, which is the result of an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Thyroid hormone is important to your body's growth and metabolism. But if you have too much thyroid hormone, your body's processes may speed up or overreact, causing a variety of symptoms. Three options are available to treat Graves' disease: medications, radiation, or surgery. Here's what you need to do at home following treatment.
Medication and medical care
Take your medication exactly as directed.
- Never stop treatment on your own. If you do, your symptoms will return.
- Take your medication at the same time every day.
- Keep your pills in a container that is labeled with the days of the week. This will help you remember whether you've taken your medication each day.
- Try to take your medication with the same food or drink each day. This will help you control the amount of thyroid hormone in your system.
- Keep a card in your wallet that lists:
- Your name and contact information
- Your doctor's name and contact information
- The name of your disease
- The brand names and doses of your medications
- Make and keep appointments to see your doctor and get laboratory work. You will need to be monitored for the rest of your life.
- During your routine visits, tell your doctor about any signs of hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), such as:
- Rapid weight loss
- Feeling unusually hot when others feel comfortable
- During your routine visits, tell your doctor about any signs of hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone, which can be a side effect of treatment), such as:
- Fatigue or sluggishness
- Puffy hands, face, or feet
- Muscle pain
- Slow pulse (less than 60 beats per minute)
- Feeling unusually cold when others feel comfortable
Other home care
- Sleep with your head elevated to reduce eyelid swelling, if you have this problem.
- If your eyes are irritated, ask your doctor about using ointments or artificial tears.
- If you have eye symptoms, wear glasses with side guards to protect your eyes from dust and drying wind.
To learn more
The resources below can help you learn more:
- American Thyroid Association 703-998-8890 www.thyroid.org
- Hormone Health Network 800-467-6663 www. hormone.org
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
When to call your doctor
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
- Anxiety, tremors, or sleeplessness that gets worse
- Sore throat while taking medications to control hyperthyroidism
- Fever above 100.5?F (38?C)
- Feeling sweaty and hot when others around you are comfortable
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble focusing your eyes or double vision
- Bulging eyes
- Weight loss for no obvious reason
- Rapid pulse (higher than 100 beats per minute)
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) gets larger