Your thyroid gland normally helps regulate your body’s natural metabolic processes by producing hormones. However, if your thyroid makes too much or too little of these hormones, it can wreak havoc on your system.
Here at Nguyen Medical Group in Boynton Beach, Florida, we have years of experience helping senior citizens identify signs of underlying thyroid problems. Our team, led by Dr. Thomas Nguyen and Susan Nguyen-Mui, APRN, is committed to helping seniors in the Palm Beach area live long and healthy lives.
Thyroid problems are one of the most common chronic health conditions that senior citizens face. That’s why we’ve created this guide to common signs of thyroid problems.
Common signs of thyroid problems
Your thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck that produces two hormones that are essential for the function of your endocrine system: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate the rate at which your cells metabolize and produce energy.
Too much of these hormones can lead to hyperthyroidism, causing your cells to metabolize too quickly. On the other hand, reduced hormone production can lead to hypothyroidism and cells that work sluggishly.
Because your thyroid is so essential for regulating different parts of your body, it can cause a number of concerning symptoms. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important to speak with our team, as it could be signs of thyroid problems.
Your thyroid helps control how quickly your body converts food into energy that your cells metabolize. Hypothyroidism caused by reduced thyroid function can cause your cells to slow down and can lead to weight gain. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss due to excess thyroid hormones.
If you suddenly find yourself experiencing unusual mood shifts or changes to your energy levels, this could be due to thyroid problems as well. In addition to regulating your body’s normal metabolic processes, your thyroid helps regulate your energy levels and mood.
If you find yourself suddenly down, depressed, and fatigued, you may be experiencing hypothyroidism. However, hyperthyroidism can manifest as irritability, anxiety, and restlessness.
Your thyroid also works to regulate the speed of your digestive system in order to ensure you process food at the right rate in order to fuel your cells. Too much or too little of your thyroid hormones can lead to noticeable digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
Skin, hair, and nail changes
Often, the external parts of your body can offer clues to issues occurring internally. If you suddenly experience extreme hair loss or notice your skin becoming dry and your nails becoming brittle, it may be a sign of thyroid dysfunction as well.
Women over 60 are more likely to experience either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, but these problems are frequently underdiagnosed in senior citizens. One tell-tale sign of thyroid problems is sudden changes to your body temperature, such as feeling cold more often or excess sweating.
Unfortunately, these symptoms can mimic the experience of hot flashes and chills associated with menopause. That’s why it’s important to speak to our team about any sudden changes in your body temperature so we can determine what’s causing them.
As we get older, it’s normal to experience some changes as our body’s processes naturally slow down. However, drastic changes could be a sign of thyroid dysfunction, which can be easily treated once diagnosed. If you suspect you may be experiencing thyroid problems, call our offices at 561-203-6295 or make an appointment online to get help now.