Signs and Symptoms of Senior Thyroid Disease

Female doctor checking senior's woman glands.
Thyroid disease in seniors can often go undiagnosed due to symptoms that mimic other diseases.

It’s so small but so important. Only two inches in size, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck that plays a crucial role in a person’s overall health. From helping to regulate metabolism, body temperature, heart rate and even brain function, the thyroid gland is truly small, but mighty. During Thyroid Awareness Month, Jewish Family Home Care, the experts in Sunrise respite care and senior care in the surrounding communities, shares information about the importance of proper thyroid function and the signs and symptoms of senior thyroid disease.

Two of the most common thyroid conditions are hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), where the thyroid does not produce enough of certain critical hormones and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), where the thyroid produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. In older adults, many of the common symptoms associated with these forms of thyroid disease are often extremely subtle, may be attributed to complaints associated with aging, or masquerade as symptoms of other diseases. Because of the vital role of the thyroid gland in the overall functioning of the body, a proper diagnosis is critical to long-term health.

Common Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Seniors

  • Bowel movement changes, specifically constipation
  • Unexplained high cholesterol
  • Memory loss or a cognitive decline
  • Joint or muscle pain, muscle weakness, or stiffness and swelling in the joints
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin and nails

Common Hyperthyroidism Symptoms in Seniors

  • Fluttering of the heart or vague chest discomfort
  • Tremors in the hands and/or fingers
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Unexplained weight loss in spite of a regular appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

Senior thyroid disease can usually be diagnosed through a thorough physical exam and simple blood tests. If there is a history of thyroid disease in a senior’s family, it’s important to bring this up to the physician, as thyroid disease is frequently hereditary. A physician will prescribe medications that can manage thyroid disease. Once diagnosed with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, it’s important for the senior to have the condition monitored through regular follow-up exams.

At Jewish Family Home Care, our compassionate care team is here to help seniors who have been diagnosed with thyroid disease. We can provide medication reminders to ensure seniors are taking medications as prescribed, offer encouragement to remain active and engaged in enjoyable activities, help prepare nutritious meals, and so much more. Our wide array of home care services can be customized to meet the needs of your senior loved one, ensuring he or she is healthy and thriving. What’s more, our home care services are available for a few hours each week, up to and including 24-hour, round-the-clock care.

For more information about our top-rated home care in Hallandale and the surrounding areas, reach out to us at 954-908-5677. We’ve been assisting local seniors and their families since 2015 and we’d love the opportunity to learn more about your specific care needs and help a senior you love live with safety, dignity and independence.