AnonymousJuly 3, 1998 at 7:10 pmPost count: 93172
According to what I’ve read, RAI works as it is supposed to approximately 90% of the time on the first try. It is effective, and it is safe. There can be problems balancing out on the hormone replacement, but you could have those after having the surgery as well, so I hesitate to even bring that up. I think you should take the time now to really dig into some GOOD sources, read up on the various treatments, talk with your doctor, and give yourself time to mull over the options. Any of the treatments can give you relief, and what any of us decides to do is a very personal choice in a lot of cases.
I remember being where you are at now — confused and upset and scared. It DOES get better. It just takes a little time. But the treatments work to make us well again, which is the important thing.
Wishing you good luck and good health, soon.
Bobbi — Bobbi 1436@AOL.comAnonymousFebruary 23, 1999 at 9:39 amPost count: 93172
Is there a specific test that distinguishes between Graves’ and hyperthyroidism? I asked my doctor how he determined that I have Graves’ and not just hyperthyroidism, but his answer was not satisfactory. Thanks for your help.AnonymousFebruary 23, 1999 at 9:59 amPost count: 93172
As I understand it, Roselle, hyperthyroidism can be caused by three or four different scenarios, and sometimes the doctors can distinguish easily whether it is likely to be Graves’ or not. For instance, there is a type of hyperthyroidism that is caused by something called, I think, an “autonomous node.” This, essentially is one spot in the thyroid that goes haywire, putting out thyroid hormone and unresponsive to the pituitary’s TSH control mechanism. The doctors can spot this from an uptake and scan test, because only one part of the thyroid will have taken in too much of the test radioactive iodine, while the rest of the thyroid will look normal on the scan. In the case of this type of hyperthyroidism, surgery corrects the problem. Then, there is the case where the entire thyroid takes up too much thyroid hormone, which is USUALLY an indication of Graves’ (I think the number is 90% of the time). Graves is caused by the immune system creating an antibody to a portion of the thyroid cell. It affects the whole thyroid, not just one single part of it. Sometimes the doctor can distinguish this by testing the blood for the particular types of antibodies that can be the culprit. But that isn’t necessarily a complete indication, because (as my endo told me) for some reason these antibodies wax and wane in numbers without the medical community understanding why. There is another type of hyperthyroidism that involves the whole thyroid, too, and that is called “thyroiditis”, and it involves a viral or bacterial agent. Usually, there will be an elevated temperature associated with this problem. This is a self-limiting condition, because your body will create antibodies to attack the virus or bacteria that is causing the problem. Usually, it takes about six weeks, from what I’ve read, to run it’s course, although it could be longer (or shorter). Then, there is what is called “postpartum thyroiditis”. And I think this particular type of hyperthyroidism is harder for the doctors to distinguish from Graves’. One indication that this is a possibility is, of course, that it occurs after a pregnancy and delivery. If this is suspected, doctors will often (barring other medical considerations) want to treat it with the antithyroid drugs to see if it will go away. It does not always go away. Or sometimes it will go away (remission) temporarily only to reoccur later. In that eventuality I “think” (I’m not sure) that the doctor will then consider it Graves’. Graves’, as I mentioned, is the odds-on favorite culprit if your entire thyroid is involved in the problem, and you have not been exhibiting signs of infection, or just delivered a baby.
I hope this helps,
BobbiAnonymousFebruary 23, 1999 at 10:36 amPost count: 93172
Thanks for the info , Bobbi. I was diagnosed in March 1998, but never had a scan or uptake test, so that is why I wonder if it really is Graves’. My present doctor said that a scan would be done before RAI, which I have not yet decided to have done. I appreciate the help.AnonymousFebruary 25, 1999 at 9:31 amPost count: 93172
What a GREAT explanation (in English) about 4 types of hyperthyroidism. This was the best description (and shortest) description I have seen. I printed out your message to show to my family! Thanks.
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