Pulse steroid therapy is being used excessively in treating thyroid malfunctions. This therapy has been shown to be specifically effective for Graves’ disease related with hyperthyroidism. It is also helpful in treating the ophthalmic conditions and skin disorders associated with hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition wherein an overactive thyroid produces excess amounts of hormones; much more than what the body needs.
The level of hormones in the system can be determined by a series of blood tests. Various tests are performed to evaluate and diagnose a condition before a particular thyroid treatment is prescribed.
Symptoms like protruding eyeballs, goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland), and a swollen pitted skin with edema typically indicate the prevalence of Graves’ disease. These symptoms are caused due to the production of antibodies that affect the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).
It is important to note that all cases of Graves’ disease do not exhibit all symptoms. The protruding eyeballs are caused by the TSH receptor that affects the back of the eyeballs. This condition is called exophthalmos. Patchy skin with edema occurs when the antibodies infiltrate the skin and create lymphatic obstructions. This results in edema and the skin appears like an orange peel.
Pulse steroid therapy involves intravenously administering steroids diluted in dextrose solution. The therapy is administered in dosages for a certain duration given in periodic intervals determined by the physician.
Although hyperthyroid Graves’ disease is considered to be different from hypothyroid Graves’ disease, pulse steroid therapy has shown positive results in both, especially when accompanied by other forms of thyroid treatment.
Trials with pulse steroid therapy have shown that the process of intravenous administration is much safer than oral steroids. It has also been established to a certain level that corticosteroids that are administered in pulse form do not interfere with radiation iodine therapy (RAI).
The pulse steroid treatment is a better option when compared to conventional thyroid medications. Conventional treatments include immunosuppressive drugs that are highly toxic, and radiation therapy is fraught with dangers of contamination.