There are two variations of thyroid disease—hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. With hyperthyroidism, the thyroid produces an abundance of hormones.
Hypothyroidism is more common in the elderly and describes the condition where the thyroid fails to generate the proper level of hormones. The treatment for each condition varies, so it’s important for family caregivers to work with the doctor on what is best for their aging loved one.
Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms for this variation of thyroid disease include sweating, digestive issues, weight loss, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and tremors. Many seniors may show one or more of these symptoms, but family caregivers and senior care providers may not recognize them as they are similar to many other age-related health issues.
Treating hypothyroidism means that aging adults must take medication that slows down the production of hormones. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove part of the thyroid to control hormone production.
Hypothyroidism: With the underproduction of hormones, seniors may experience symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, brittle hair and nails, weight gain, aching muscles, a stiffness of joints and increased sensitivity to cold.
Elderly adults are treated for hyperthyroidism via synthetic thyroid hormones that bring the body into balance. After several weeks of treatment, most seniors see the symptoms go away and they feel a lot better.
How Thyroid Disease Affects Senior Lives
With thyroid disease, an aging adult definitely needs to be on a treatment plan from a doctor. When the condition is diagnosed early and treatment begins, they will be able to control a lot of the symptoms and minimize long-term health problems. Without treatment, aging adults can face decreased lung capacity, goiters, heart disease, and even mental decline.
In addition to medication, family caregivers and senior care providers can help aging adults by focusing on a healthy diet and exercise. Certain foods containing iodine are linked to thyroid disease prevention and management, including table salt, eggs, whole grain bread, milk, and seafood. Seniors can also benefit from quitting smoking, exercising, and lowering their stress levels.
Family caregivers and senior care providers can work together to create a home atmosphere where seniors can successfully treat thyroid disease and keep the symptoms under control. With medication management and lifestyle adjustments, there’s no reason for aging adults to become sidetracked with thyroid disease.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Mauldin, SC, please contact the caring staff at Upstate Home Care Solutions today. Call (864) 527-0455