Who treats Graves' disease?

Patients who are diagnosed with Graves' disease may be treated by different types of doctors. To some extent, the assumption of responsibility for treatment may vary depending on the severity of the Graves' disease, the presence of complications, and a given doctor's familiarity with the principles of treatment and monitoring. Patients presenting with mild Graves' disease that can be controlled with antithyroid drugs may be treated by internists, general practitioners, or family practitioners who are familiar with the use of these medications. Patients presenting with moderate to severe Graves' disease with associated complications are usually referred to specialists called endocrinologists. Most endocrinologists are well versed in the evaluation and treatment of a range of different thyroid disorders, having undergone specific training that focuses on the interpretation of thyroid function tests, thyroid uptake studies, and thyroid scans. Endocrinologists who treat Graves' disease usually assume the responsibility for making recommendations as to whether patients should be treated with radioactive iodine or referred for thyroid surgery. Some endocrinologists who have received special training may even take on the responsibility of administering therapeutic doses of radioactive iodine themselves. Within the field of endocrinology, there are some doctors who have developed specific interests in the management of patients with rare, severe, or complicated thyroid disorders. These doctors may be identified as thyroidologists.