Once you begin treatment, symptoms of hyperthyroidism should subside and you should start feeling much better. The following suggestions also may help:
Ask your doctor about supplementing your diet. If you've lost a great deal of weight or experienced muscle wasting, you may benefit from adding extra calories and protein to your diet. Your doctor or a dietitian can help you with meal planning. In most cases, you won't need to continue supplementing your diet once your hyperthyroidism is under control.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism can also eventually contribute to excessive weight gain. It is important to learn how to get as much nutrition as possible from your food without eating a lot of extra calories. In addition, eating the correct amount of sodium and calcium are important dietary considerations for people with hyperthyroidism.
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D. Because hyperthyroidism may contribute to thinning bones, it's important to get enough calcium every day to help prevent osteoporosis. The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day for adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70. That calcium recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day if you're a woman age 51 or older or a man age 71 or older. The Institute of Medicine also recommends 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D a day for adults ages 19 to 70 and 800 IUs a day for adults age 71 and older. Talk to your doctor about appropriate dietary guidelines for you.
If you have Graves' ophthalmopathy or dermopathy, the following suggestions may help soothe your eyes or skin:
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- Apply cool compresses to your eyes. The extra moisture may provide relief.
- Wear sunglasses. When your eyes protrude, they're more vulnerable to ultraviolet rays and more sensitive to sunlight. Wearing sunglasses helps protect them from both sun and wind.
- Use lubricating eyedrops. Eyedrops may help relieve dryness and scratchiness. Be sure to use eyedrops that don't contain redness removers. Because your eyelids may not cover the entire eye when sleeping, a lubricating gel can be used before bed to prevent the cornea from drying out.
- Elevate the head of your bed. Keeping your head higher than the rest of your body may reduce swelling and may help relieve pressure on your eyes.
- Try over-the-counter creams for swollen skin. Over-the-counter creams containing hydrocortisone (Cortaid, others) may help relieve red, swollen skin on your shins and feet. For help finding these creams, talk to your pharmacist.
- AskMayoExpert. Hyperthyroidism. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Ross DS. Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 11, 2015.
- Ross DS. Overview of the clinical manifestations of hyperthyroidism in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 11, 2015.
- Ross DS. Disorders that cause hyperthyroidism. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 11, 2015.
- Hyperthyroidism. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/thyroid-disorders/hyperthyroidism. Accessed Sept. 11, 2015.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Thyroid disorders: Hyperthyroidism and thyroid storm. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Sept. 11, 2015.
- Hyperthyroidism. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/what-is-hyperthyroidism/. Accessed Sept. 11, 2015.
- Graves' disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/graves-disease/Pages/fact-sheet.aspx. Accessed Sept. 11, 2015.
- Dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D. Institute of Medicine. http://www.iom.edu/vitamind. Accessed July 17, 2012.
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 18, 2015.