Posted January 30, 2018
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Senior sitting on bench
Your thyroid is a type of comptroller in the body, a gland that influences other cells, tissues, and organ function. Respite care in the Schaumburg area offers tips to recognize thyroid disease, which can be prevalent among seniors.
January is Thyroid Disease Awareness Month and it is the perfect time to see your provider to determine if you are at risk of a thyroid problem. More than 30-million people in this country have a thyroid disorder, but less than half seek medical diagnoses or treatment. It is estimated that thyroid disease is more prevalent than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Do yourself- or someone you love- a favor and have your thyroid tested. Don’t have a provider? Reach out to  Senior Living Experts for comprehensive information pertaining to practitioners and physicians in the area.

What does your thyroid do?

The thyroid is a gland at the base of your neck that acts as a type of comptroller for systems, organs, and cells in the body. The thyroid produces hormones that have an influence on other bodily function, including your heart, brain, and kidney. For this reason, it is integral to have a thyroid gland that is producing the right amounts of hormones to function. Too much production of thyroid hormones is problematic and called hyperthyroidism, while too little production of hormones is hypothyroidism. Both have distinct impacts on your body and can cause varied medical issues.

Thyroid disease impacts the elderly

Hypothyroidism is a condition that mainly impacts women, around four-times more often, generally among women aged 35-60. Hypothyroidism is often a result of Hashimoto’s disease.  Hyperthyroidism is frequently caused by Graves Disease and is found in approximately seven-times as many women than men. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to thyroid problems, often following a viral infection of some sort. Older individuals may neglect to report symptoms to their provider or feel that it is part of the normal aging process. In actuality, treatment can improve the way that the individual feels and enhance the overall quality of life for many with thyroid issues.

Respite care in the Schamuburg area offers tips to recognize thyroid disease:

The symptoms of a thyroid issue can look like a lot of different issues, so identifying a problem can be challenging. This ambiguity may be the reason that so many people struggling with thyroid problems go undiagnosed and untreated. The best way to rule out issues is to have your thyroid tested by your provider. Some of the common symptoms of thyroid issues include fatigue, weight-loss or gain, moodiness, and anxiety. Thyroid disease can affect anyone, but women are five times more likely than men to be at risk, and this risk increases with age. Some other signs that something is going on with your thyroid include:

  • Constipation.
  • Increased vulnerability to cold temperatures.
  • Slow heart-rate.
  • Muscle cramping.
  • Difficulty with hearing.
  • More severe menstrual cycles for women; impotence for men.
  • Tingling in the extremities.

If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor for a thyroid test and to rule out other medical conditions. A faulty thyroid gland could compromise the overall function of your body’s organs- which includes serious medical compromise and disease.

Your prognosis is good with treatment

Worried about your thyroid? Put your mind at ease with a visit to your doctor. Actually, the prognoses are very good, and treatment is effective when identified and assessed. Many thyroid issues are often treated successfully with medications, though hyperthyroidism and an overactive thyroid may warrant surgery, with the goal of removing part of your thyroid. Typically following treatment, patients can resume their regular lifestyle and activities without restrictions.  The all-important first-step is to have your provider perform a thyroid test for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Talk to your provider about a thyroid test

Don’t be nervous about your thyroid test; these are typically done in your doctor’s office, involving a series of simple blood-draws. Often testing includes a TSH test, which measures the thyroid-stimulating hormones secreted by the pituitary gland and that contributes to the thyroid’s function. When you go to your provider for your test, make sure to provide an accurate medical history and convey the symptoms that you have been experiencing- no matter how insignificant they may seem.
Don’t let another day go by wondering if you- or someone you love- has a thyroid issue. Reach out to your practitioner, caregiver, or doctor to schedule thyroid tests to rule-out and diagnose the problem. Don’t have a provider?  Senior Living Experts can help; this user-friendly resource will point patients in the direction of a practitioner to assess, diagnose, and treat a potential problem with your thyroid, which may prevent more-complicated medical issues later on. Thyroid issue-symptoms are difficult to live with and can erode your quality of life; stop suffering and get tested at the first sign of symptoms, or at your next medical appointment.

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