Most Common Thyroid Problems among the Elderly

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As adults age, it’s not unusual for various organ systems to slow down or malfunction. This is also true of the thyroid gland. Some types of thyroid disease processes are more common among elderly individuals. However, the symptoms are often not typical, which makes diagnosis more difficult. Following are a few of the most common thyroid diseases in seniors.



Thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid gland, is common in middle-aged and elderly women, although the problem can also arise in men. Examinations of the gland in women over the age of 60 revealed that 45 percent displayed the disorder. Treating the malady depends on the reason for the inflammation. Anti-infective medications treat underlying infections. In other cases, seniors may merely require anti-inflammatory medications.



The term refers to a reduced production of thyroid hormone. The malfunction is more common in the elderly and especially in women. In seniors, symptoms might include cardiovascular problems, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and anemia. 

Older adults might complain of constipation, experience weight loss, have arthritic-like discomfort, or develop anemia. Some might also experience depression, cognitive difficulties, or other mental health issues. Evaluations of physical symptoms and the levels of thyroid-produced hormones are used to diagnose the disorder. Treatment involves taking thyroid replacement hormones.

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When the thyroid produces an excess of hormones, the condition is known as hyperthyroidism. Symptoms may include elevated heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, and severe weight loss. However, more common symptoms include depression, generalized fatigue, and apathy. Patients may be required to take beta-blocker anti-hypertensive medications along with receiving radioiodine.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with thyroid disease, he or she can continue to live at home with help from a professional caregiver. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Reston, VA, Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. Our home caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.


Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid gland may develop malignancies. Papillary carcinoma remains the most common of these cancers. However, the disease progresses faster among seniors compared to those under the age of 50. Malignancies may grow more rapidly or metastasize to other body regions. Depending on the type of mass, treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Reston families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Call Assisting Hands Home Care today to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.