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Common Thyroid Diseases Among Seniors

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck that makes hormones used for metabolism and temperature control within the body. If a disease affects the thyroid, these bodily functions can become imbalanced. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too many hormones, which causes weight loss, sweating, heat sensitivity, and rapid heart rates. When the thyroid does not make enough of these hormones, people can develop hypothyroidism, which causes weight gain, chills, fatigue, and slowed heart rates. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can be caused by many different issues, but the following four diseases are more common among the elderly.

Goiters

A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland, which is typically caused by iodine deficiencies. The enlarged thyroid causes hyperthyroidism and it is more common among seniors. Often, it can be treated just with iodine supplementation, though some cases may call for help from an in-home care agency in Albuquerque to manage it.

Thyroid Nodules

Nodules are growths that develop on the thyroid. These nodules can put pressure on the thyroid to produce excess hormones, resulting in hyperthyroidism. Though they are normally benign, four percent of seniors with thyroid nodules have cancerous growths that require chemotherapy or radiation. Even if the nodules are not cancerous, they can be shrunk with radioactive iodine.

Hashimoto’s Disease

This condition is the most common cause of hypothyroidism and is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to slowly attack the thyroid gland and destroy its ability to produce hormones. Women around the age of 50 have the greatest risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease, but it can be easily treated with synthetic hormones.

Graves’ Disease

Since smoking is a huge risk factor for Graves’ disease, it is very common among elderly smokers. This form of hyperthyroidism is distinguished by bulging eyes and an enlarged thyroid. Parts of this enlarged thyroid are often removed with surgery to treat the condition.

You can help your loved one manage thyroid disease at home with help from Home Care Assistance of Albuquerque. Our dedicated in-home caregivers help with everything from medication reminders and prescription pick-ups to meal preparation and physical exercise. In addition to helping seniors with thyroid disease, we provide comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, and at-home stroke care in Albuquerque that enables seniors to age in place while managing their disease. Call 505-798-0800 today to learn more and schedule a no-obligation consultation over the phone.