I have been diagnosed with Graves' Disease and treated with Propranolol (Beta Blocker) to control symptoms of tachycardia and palpitations until it resolved. I was treated with radioactive iodine recently (alternative to surgery) and may or may not become permanently hypothyroid and be required to take Synthroid for the rest of my life. I am de-conditioned and have battled with hyperthyroidism for a half a year before it was diagnosed (some people go years without being diagnosed or being misdiagnosed). How do I start to get myself back into exercise? Do I focus on cardio? Resistance training (hyperthyroidism is really a "muscle wasting disease" if the tremors are untreated)? Or do I do a mixture of both? What type of exercise, frequency, intensity and duration do you recommend? This is assuming that the client's condition is stable and has been cleared to return to exercise (which I have been).
Managing Graves’ Disease, especially after undergoing radioactive iodine treatment, is a serious matter and needs dedicated medical follow-up. You need to align yourself with a broadminded, medical practitioner who has extensive knowledge of the hormonal pathways and interactions of the body. That person should also have knowledge of and experience with all of the hormone replacement medications, such as Armour, Levoxyl, Synthroid and Cytomel, etc. Each of these medications has a unique value. However, some practitioners never take the time to use them appropriately. As you attempt to increase your exercise load, the issue of balancing your hormones becomes even more important.
In the European homeopathic system of homotoxicology (www.HeelUSA.com), as developed by Dr. Hans-Heinrich Reckeweg, it is felt that autoimmune conditions (such as Graves’ Disease) are actually a natural progression of the body’s inability to maintain homeostasis. The inability to neutralize and excrete toxins is what causes the lack of homeostasis.
There are six phases of progressive dysfunction. The first three phases are listed below.
- Excretion Phase – The body attempts to remove toxins. The symptoms are often overlooked and the body then progresses to phase two.
- Inflammation Phase – The body is literally attempting to burn the toxins. We often call this an “itis,” and we treat it with over-the-counter medication. As toxins continue to accumulate, phase three develops.
- Deposition Phase – Toxins are now deposited in various tissues. (The solution to pollution of toxins is dilution and storage.)
The first three phases are in the extra-cellular spaces and the intercellular enzyme structures remain in tact. However, as the condition continues to stage four, “impregnation,” enzymatic and genetic code damage occurs. This is the stage that Graves’ Disease symptoms manifest themselves.
The key for you is to recognize that this is a whole-body process and is progressive. By treating only the symptomatic expression (by shutting down the thyroid via radioactive iodine) does not reverse the cause of the condition. What you need to do is address all of the foundational lifestyle factors that contributed to the toxic build up and the body’s inability to process them. These factors include a detailed systematic review of what you eat, drink, think and breathe, along with sleep cycles and exercise. Finding a practitioner familiar with these protocols to coach you through the process would be of great benefit.