Thyroid issues can cause a wide range of issues in the body. They can cause nervous system or bowel system issues. They can cause problems with the heart and much more. This is why it is extremely important to get a diagnosis for any thyroid issues that your elderly loved one might be experiencing. The sooner they can get a diagnosis, the sooner they can get the proper treatment they need.
One of the most common thyroid issues in the elderly is hypothyroidism. This is when the thyroid isn’t functioning well enough. In fact, it is underactive. Your loved one’s thyroid may not be making enough of the thyroid hormone, so the body can’t work as well as it should. The most commonly seen reason for hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a type of autoimmune disorder. This means the thyroid gland is inflamed.
Do you notice that your elderly loved one is excessively sleepy, has dry skin, gets constipated easily, or has seen quite a bit of weight gain? If you see these things or a combination of them, you or their home care provider should schedule them a doctor’s appointment to have their thyroid checked.
Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid is being overactive. It is letting out too much of the thyroid hormone. This causes the body systems to work in overdrive. Throughout many places, Grave’s disease is the main cause of this thyroid issue. In addition, many elderly adults have a thyroid nodule that causes too much of the thyroid hormone (this is called a toxic nodule). Thyroiditis could also be causing hyperthyroidism, as well.
Is your loved one having an irregular heart rate, experiencing apathy, or seeming to be extremely fatigued? If they are, their thyroid could be overactive. Have them seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
Another one of the thyroid issues that is commonly seen in the elderly is thyroid nodules. These are abnormal growths on the thyroid gland. They are generally seen as lumps. Most of them are not cancerous, but they should still be evaluated by a doctor to determine the chances of being thyroid cancer. Most of these nodules won’t cause any symptoms and are often noted incidentally when your loved one is getting a routine exam. One of the things that increase the risk of thyroid nodules is Hashimoto’s disease.
Unfortunately, thyroid cancer is another thyroid issue seen often in the elderly. This type of cancer comes out as a malignant tumor on one’s thyroid gland. There are many kinds of thyroid cancer. Some of these include anaplastic, medullary, follicular, and papillary. Some of these cancers are easily treatable, while others are more aggressive.
Does your loved one have hoarseness in their voice, noticeable nodules in their neck, or trouble breathing or swallowing? If so, you should get them to a doctor to be assessed for thyroid cancer right away.
These are some of the most common thyroid issues seen in the elderly. Now that you are more aware of them, you can have your elderly loved one assessed by a doctor to see if they might have a thyroid issue.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Peoria, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Home Care Resources at (602) 443-4700