Is hypothyroidism in seniors really a threat and something that we should be concerned about?
The answer is a definitive yes, especially if you are a female.
However, once we pass the magic number of 60 years of age, all of us are at risk of our thyroid becomes less active than it once was.
This condition has often been mistaken for depression, fatigue syndrome, as well as several memory related conditions that challenge seniors.
Hypothyroidism in seniors, unlike depression, is considered to be part of the normal aging process for the following reasons.
OK, so what does all of this really mean?
As we all age, our thyroid function becomes affected physiology as does the rest of our body.
This basically means that it is slowing down and not producing like it once did.
Most medical experts agree that it is very likely all of the cells in our body are targeted at some point, by our thyroid hormones.
While these hormones are not absolutely critical for life itself, they play major roles throughout our life time.
This includes development from infancy, the growth throughout our early and developing years, and more importantly, our metabolism, critical as we get older.
All of this slows naturally as we age. The microscopic changes are not so much in the size of this gland; instead it is with its ability to produce the critical “connective tissues”
As we past the golden age of 60, these tissues shrink slightly and because of this, they are putting out less content. As a result, it is not sending as much of this needed hormone into our systems.
We have all heard for years the importance of iodine to this critical gland for one simple reason; out body does not produce it.
Hypothyroidism in seniors can easily be triggered by not getting enough of it our daily diets, but it can is triggered by this gland not uploading it like it used to.
The final age related affect is in the production of T4. Our thyroid produces a hormone that is called thyroxine, also referred to as T4.
This hormone also helps metabolism and comes in different types including “free T4”. The vast majority of all of the T4 produced bonds with protein in our system, but free T4 does not.
The fact that our body is no longer producing as much as it once did, means that the types that bind can no longer offset those that do not bind, triggering it to slow and become under-active.
There are several symptoms of hypothyroidism in seniors.
One of the most challenging issues with overall senior health is conditions being misdiagnosed, and this is one of the most common errors because of the symptoms.
Step back for a minute and look at all of these symptoms and warning signs associated with it.
Then ask yourself, how many of these do you have as we begin to age.
The fatigue and slowing of memory issues may have absolutely nothing to do with your mind and energy levels.
The muscle aches, the weakness you have been feeling and the joint pain may not be arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
The hoarseness that has you so concerned may be the result of a low thyroid level.
Your face starting to look fat and puffy and the weight gains you have experienced with no real change in your diet may also have a very easy and simple answer.
Hypothyroidism in seniors most often is and related to aging for the above reasons, however it can also be triggered by some of the following.
An autoimmune disease is a situation where your body, for reasons still not fully understood, attacks itself.
Our body produces antibodies that are designed specially to attack infections of all kinds.
However, there are some diseases and conditions where instead, they attack our tissues.
Some examples include systematic lupus, multiple sclerosis, and Graves’ disease, just to name a few.
There are also some medications that can affect your thyroid and trigger it, and the two most common are lithium and estrogen.
Lithium has been used for years for psychiatric disorders, and estrogen is perhaps the best known hormone for women, and a lot of senior women still use it for bone health and cholesterol problems.
However, it is believed that it can slow down the T4 process even further.
This is perhaps the major reason that women are much more likely to develop this condition then man.
The good news about hypothyroidism in seniors is that there are very simple and exact tests your doctor can do to identify it, and then treat it very successfully.
However, one word of caution; do not fall for any type of a diet to treat or prevent it—there are none, and if someone suggests there is, demand the facts.
However, what can be proven is that there are certain supplements you should totally avoid for 2-3 hours after taking your thyroid medications.
They include iron supplements, multivitamins with iron, calcium, as well as most all antacids.
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