Thyroid UK
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Do I need to put my life on hold because of graves disease?

I am 31 years old and have been considering starting a law degree but with my recent diagnosis of graves and currently feeling the worst I have felt in so long I am now wondering whether my dream is over and I need to face reality and admit that I can't work full time, study for a degree and look after my health properly. I can't even work as well as I used to right now. When do you know its time to call it a day?

9 Replies

You have only been diagnosed in Dec 2012 so it is relatively early with regards to finding a level of meds which helps. I don't have Graves and others who do will reply. This is an extract from an article by Dr Toft which may be encouraging and when you begin to feel well again, I hope you will be able to do your studies.

5 Patients with hyperthyroidism often ask for advice on drug treatment versus radioiodine therapy. Can you summarise the pros and cons of each?

The three treatments for hyperthyroidism of Graves’ disease – antithyroid drugs, iodine-131 and surgery – are effective but none is perfect.4

Iodine-131 will almost certainly cause hypothyroidism, usually within the first year of treatment, as will surgery, given the move towards total rather than subtotal thyroidectomy.

There is no consensus among endocrinologists about the correct dose of thyroid hormone replacement so patients may prefer to opt for long-term treatment with carbimazole. Standard practice is that carbimazole is given for 18 months in those destined to have just one episode of hyperthyroidism lasting a few months.

But there’s no reason why carbimazole shouldn’t be used for many years in those who do relapse. Any adverse effects such as urticarial rash or agranulocytosis will have occurred within a few weeks of starting the first course.

Iodine-131 treatment for toxic multinodular goitre is the most appropriate choice as hypothyroidism is uncommon. Surgery would be reserved for those with very large goitres and mediastinal compression.

Once hyperthyroidism has developed in a patient with a multinodular goitre, it will not remit and any antithyroid therapy would have to be lifelong.


Thanks shaws, it feels like I'll never get the right balance. I suppose this might be the depression stage but I only have a short window to register for this year and if it can take up to 18 months it'll be harder for me to study seen as the course is 6 years.

My endo didn't tell me that there were other treatments than carbimazole so I haven't been given the support or information I need.


If possible you don't want to become hypothyroid but sometimes it is inevitable. This is a link and maybe you should have your T3 checked.


Leave it a year. I taught Law at a UK university and I know myself how much studying is involved and you will not enjoy it or make the most of it until your mind is in a better place and you can think clearly.

I would use this year to get your health improved and be ready with your application this time next year. It will be better that way than having to take a break in the middle and all the stress that would involve.

Good luck


There is never a time to call it a day. I was diagnosed with Graves' in November 2011 and felt really ill and unable to work. I finally felt able to go back to work after three months although some of the symptoms were still there. About a month after that I was feeling as though there was nothing wrong with me and was able to pick up my life where it left off. So although you feel bad now, once your dosage is sorted you will get better. What dosage are you taking? I started on 40mg a day and is now down to 10mg and waiting for an executive decision to reduce further but everyone responds differently so I really hope you feel better soon.


I am now down to 5mg a day because they overmedicated and I've gone into hypo but its good to hear you have turned around and can now work again. There's hope for me yet then x



I was your age when I begun my full time law degree with hypothyroidism.

Obviously you have graves which is different from hypo, but I can tell you what things have been like for me.

Yes it has been a struggle .... I spent the first year quite I'll and was having to make choices such as attending uni , or doing the work as I struggled to do both due to fatigue, but I got there in the end although my grades reflected this struggle .

I am currently a week away from the beginning of my exam period for 2nd year , things have vastly improved for me I can concentrate fully and have been able to maintain a steady pace of work throughout the year and I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere at last!

Studying law has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done, it has been challenging , but it has also been taxing on those who have no health issues/ or outside is time consuming , rigerous but most of all very rewarding.

I live eat and breath law, and my life is so much better for it

Best wishes for the future xxx


Wow this is great it's so good to hear that you managed the study while being ill and it fills me with confidence too.

I have always been interested in law and I have been a compliance manager for 10 years so I'm use to reading and interpreting legislation so hopefully my brain will kick into gear soon and let me understand it all.

I knew it was going to be tough but with fatigue it makes things so much tougher.

Good luck with your degree x


No way give up on your dreams.Just take a year out.I am 2 years on from my treatment for my Graves and after a year on medication got my life back on track.Please dont give up hope there is light at the end of the tunnel.


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