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However, women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.

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There are several different causes of thyroid disease. The following conditions cause hypothyroidism:. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission.


We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Thyroid Disease Currently, about 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Learn what causes it and how it's treated. Overview Diagnosis and Tests Management and Treatment. What is the thyroid? What is thyroid disease?

Who is affected by thyroid disease? What causes thyroid disease? The following conditions cause hypothyroidism: Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism Nursing NCLEX

This can lower the amount of hormones produced. An important clue to the presence of thyroid disease in an elderly patient is a history of thyroid disease in another close family member such as a brother, sister or child of the patient. As in all hyperthyroid patients, if there is too much thyroid hormone, every function of the body tends to speed up see Hyperthyroidism brochure.

However, while the younger patient often has multiple symptoms related to the overactive thyroid, the elderly patient may only have one or two symptoms.


For example, patient number 1, above, experienced only a sensation of her heart fluttering, and some chest discomfort on climbing stairs. Other patients may also have few symptoms, such as patient number 6, whose main symptoms are depression and tremor. Such a patient may withdraw from interactions with friends and family. As with younger patients, treatment of hyperthyroidism in the older patient includes antithyroid drugs and radioactive iodine see Hyperthyroidism brochure.

What’s the Difference Between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism?

Surgery is rarely recommended due to increased operative risks in the older patient. During therapy, the effects of change in thyroid function on other body systems must be closely monitored, due to an increased likelihood of co-existing cardiac, central nervous system and thyroid disease in older patients. During the initial phase of treatment, doctors will observe cardiac function closely due to the effect of changing thyroid hormone levels on the heart. Symptoms and signs of angina pectoris and heart failure must be treated in tandem with the treatment to bring thyroid function under control.

Once thyroid function is maintained in the normal range with oral medication, the doctor and patient can make a decision on definitive treatment with radioactive iodine together. There is some controversy about what the normal level of TSH is for elderly patients. In general, an attempt is made to render thyroid function either normal or low in an elderly patient treated with radioactive iodine.

Several treatment options are available if you have hyperthyroidism.

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Doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones. Sometimes, treatment of hyperthyroidism involves surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland. Although hyperthyroidism can be serious if you ignore it, most people respond well once hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated. Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems, which may make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose. It can also cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including:. Older adults are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms or subtle ones, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to become tired during ordinary activities.

Medications called beta blockers, which are used to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, can mask many of the signs of hyperthyroidism. Sometimes an uncommon problem called Graves' ophthalmopathy may affect your eyes, especially if you smoke.

Hyperthyroidism - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

In this disorder, your eyeballs protrude beyond their normal protective orbits when the tissues and muscles behind your eyes swell. This pushes the eyeballs forward so far that they actually bulge out of their orbits. This can cause the front surface of your eyeballs to become very dry. Eye problems often improve without treatment.

More Information About Thyroid and Weight

If you experience unexplained weight loss, a rapid heartbeat, unusual sweating, swelling at the base of your neck or other symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism, see your doctor. It's important to completely describe the changes you've observed, because many signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism may be associated with a number of other conditions.

If you've been treated for hyperthyroidism or currently are being treated, see your doctor regularly as advised so that he or she can monitor your condition. A number of conditions, including Graves' disease, toxic adenoma, Plummer's disease toxic multinodular goiter and thyroiditis, can cause hyperthyroidism.

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple.