Hyperthyrioidism - OVER-active Thyroid
When the thyroid gland, a gland in the neck, overfunctions it can secrete thyroid hormone in excess and cause hyperthyroidism. It occurs in elderly patients and is substantially more common in women than in men. In younger patients the excess thyroid hormone causes nervousness, tremor, and weight loss. Patients may appear flushed and warm. Symptoms and signs in the elderly may be much different. Often the excess in thyroid hormone will affect other diseases, particularly heart diseases, causing symptoms or changes to appear without a good explanation. Often the newly emerged symptoms are difficult to treat and control successfully.
In some elderly patients, hyperthyroidism has an unusual, almost reverse presentation, and patients are lethargic rather than hyperactive. These patients develop the problems mentioned previously, with other diseases unexpectedly becoming worse or difficult to treat.
Important Points in Treatment
The usual treatments for hyperthyroidism are medications to reduce the activity of the thyroid gland. These are effective in the elderly. Surgery for removal of the thyroid gland was much used in the past, but is not frequently used now.
Call Our Office If ...
- You notice an enlargement of the thyroid gland, usually an enlargement in the neck.
- You notice unusual weight loss, nervousness, or sensitivity to heat.
You become unusually tired, listless, or weak.