The Aging Thyroid

As we age, our bodies start to slow down. Including our thyroid.

The thyroid gland releases less T3 and T4 hormones as people age. And the hormone that is released is less effective than it is in younger people. As a result, older people have a greater risk of thyroid disease.

However, the classic symptoms of thyroid disease — fatigue, weakness, constipation, reduced appetite, intolerance to cold, hair loss, and dry skin — are often less apparent in seniors. Even when present, they are often attributed to the aging process rather than to an underactive thyroid.

Treatment for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is the same in the senior population as it is for younger people: hormone replacement therapy. But seniors will start with a lower dose of medication than younger adults since the hormone can increase the risk of cardiac events such as angina, arrhythmia, and heart attack.

Seniors with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) are also less likely to have the classic symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Instead, their symptoms will likely include cognitive impairment, fatigue, and mania or depression.

Unlike hypothyroidism, treatment for hyperthyroidism in older people differs from the treatment in younger patients. Rather than surgery, seniors are more likely to be treated with radioactive iodine, which destroys only some of the thyroid tissue. Radioactive iodine is both less risky and more effective for a senior with hyperparathyroidism. Sometimes, as a result of radioactive iodine treatment, the patient will develop hypothyroidism. In such cases, they can then be treated with hormone replacement medication.

At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, our care programs are designed specifically to meet the unique needs and interests of seniors and long-term care patients. We emphasize restorative care, maximizing each patient’s potential to regain and maintain function and mobility.

We foster an environment that is cheerful and enthusiastic, so residents truly relish and appreciate life.

Our outstanding Social Services team works hard to ensure that every resident thrives socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

We promote a culture of independence, crucial for emotional, social, and physical health. Residents are encouraged to choose their activity and meal preferences, and to perform tasks and activities as self-sufficiently as possible.

We carefully select, train and re-train our wonderful caregivers, who are especially sensitive to the needs of our long-term care patients. They treat residents with love, compassion, and dignity.

Read our reviews on caring.com, wellness.com, and senioradvisor.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.

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