Common Thyroid Conditions Among the Elderly

What Thyroid Diseases Are Most Common Among Seniors?

By Will Reid, 9:00 am on

Though the thyroid is a relatively small gland located in the front of the throat, it produces important hormones that help to regulate metabolism and control body temperature. If something causes the thyroid to produce too many hormones, which is a condition called hyperthyroidism, then a person lose weight, sweat excessively, feel anxious, have a fast heart rate, and experience tremors. When people have hypothyroidism, which happens when not enough hormones are produced, they gain weight, feel cold, experience hair loss, feel sluggish, and have high cholesterol. The following are a few of the most common thyroid conditions Cincinnati at-home care agencies are most familiar with.

Hashimoto’s Disease

This is the most common type of hypothyroidism and it most often occurs among women over the age of 60. It is an autoimmune condition that can often be treated with immunosuppressant drugs and synthetic hormone supplements. 

Graves’ Disease

Graves’ disease is the second most frequent thyroid disease among the elderly. In addition to the usual symptoms of hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease is also associated with puffy eyes. It can sometimes be treated with medication, but treatment occasionally requires surgery.

Goiters

Goiters are extremely common among seniors with an iodine deficiency. This form of thyroid disease can include symptoms of either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, and it is characterized by an excessively enlarged thyroid. It can typically be treated with iodine supplements.

Plummer Syndrome

Plummer Syndrome occurs when a senior has a preexisting goiter that develops a hyperfunctioning nodule. This causes severe symptoms of hyperthyroidism, but the eyes are not affected. Most people with Plummer Syndrome are postmenopausal women over the age of 60.

Thyroid Cancer

Cancer can keep the thyroid from functioning properly, which typically results in hypothyroidism. Fortunately, the survival rate for seniors with thyroid cancer who get it treated with surgery is almost 90 percent.

Should your loved one be diagnosed with a thyroid condition, there are numerous ways you can make life at home more comfortable. One of which is to contact Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati at 513.891.2273 to customize a care schedule for your loved one. We provide numerous services including Alzheimer’s, dementia, and in-home stroke care in Cincinnati that enables seniors to age in place with confidence. Schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Care Manager when you call.