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What’s So Important About the Thyroid? Elder Care Considerations

Elder Care in Hilshire Village, TX – Get the Facts on the Thyroid Conditions and Seniors

Elder Care in Hilshire Village, TXClose to 30 million Americans, a majority of them being women, have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). In fact, Synthroid, a drug used to treat hypothyroidism, is the most commonly prescribed medication in America. What does this mean if you are someone providing elder care?

What is the function of the thyroid?

In order to understand the importance of quality home care for the elderly with a thyroid condition, you must first understand what the thyroid is and what functions it is responsible for.

The thyroid is a small gland located in the front of the neck that sits along the windpipe. The thyroid is responsible for releasing hormones that will help regulate metabolism, body temperature, bone and brain health, muscle control and cardiovascular functions.

What are the health risks of a thyroid that isn’t functioning properly?

If a person’s thyroid levels are left unbalanced, over time it can increase the risk of thyroid cancer and atrial fibrillation (dangerous heart arrhythmia). Other issues stemming from a thyroid imbalance are weight loss or gain, anxiety, and depression.

What are the symptoms?

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism present different symptoms.

With hypothyroidism a person might experience a slow heart rate, constipation, hair loss, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, and muscle aches.

A person with hyperthyroidism will tend to experience a rapid heart rate, weight loss, irregular menstrual cycles, emotional mood swings, and increased anxiety.

Most people don’t even realize that they are having issues with their thyroid. They just know that they don’t feel 100 percent. If you are caring for an elderly loved one who is presenting with some of the symptoms mentioned above, have them make an appointment with their doctor or endocrinologist to have their levels tested.

Often a person will have to undergo bloodwork to check their T3, T4, and TSH hormone levels. The TSH is especially important because it tells the brain whether or not you have enough thyroid hormone to support your cells and organs.

What causes thyroid malfunction?

Most of the time abnormal thyroid is due to an autoimmune response. The immune system attacks the thyroid because it sees it as a threat. This can result in either an increase or decrease of hormone production.

If someone you provide elder care for exhibits signs or symptoms of depression, they should contact their doctor to have their thyroid levels checked as this could be contributing to their state of mind. Medication is the most effective way to treat thyroid issues and keep hormones balanced.

If you have a loved one who could benefit from the help of elder care in Hilshire Village, TX contact At Your Side Home Care. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (832) 271-1600 for more information.

Donna Wrabel, LMSW

For most of us, the word "home" evokes warm feelings of comfort, security and well-being. For older adults, home also means holding tight to cherished memories and maintaining self-esteem and independence. When illness, injury or age make life a little more challenging, remaining at home in a comfortable, familiar environment encourages recovery and enhances the quality of life. Home can be defined as a private residence, an independent or assisted living facility or even a short term stay in the hospital, we recognize the additional benefits provided by a personal, professional assistant.

Our Certified Nurse Aides, 24-Hour Live-in Assistants and Home Health Aides are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We also provide the security and confidence of 24-hour Telephone Assistance, so fast, reliable help is always available when it's needed. To learn more about our homecare services see our homecare services page.

Different people need different levels of homecare. To meet the requirements of our clients, At Your Side Homecare maintains consistent staffing levels of caring professionals. Homecare service is available for as little as a few hours a week, or as many as 24 hours a day, seven days a week