Home caregivers are typically so busy tending to the needs of others that they often let their own needs fall a little by the wayside. However, health issues involving the thyroid can make looking after a senior loved one even more challenging than normal, so taking care of thyroid issues is a must for home caregivers.
The thyroid is an endocrine gland that’s small in size but mighty in function: it creates and regulates the hormones that determine energy levels. When those hormones are not at an appropriate level, energy regulation is severely affected.
Thyroxine (T4) is one of those hormones, and it’s the one that is usually of most concern. That’s because it has a massive impact on body temperature, metabolism, and cardiovascular issues.
When T4 levels are appropriate, things are well and good. When they’re too high, the heart can palpitate and a stress levels can be negatively affected. People with too much T4 may also lose too much weight. When T4 is down too low, the opposite happens. Those who have low T4 levels may feel sluggish, are more likely to be depressed and gain weight, and may have low heart rates.
Either situation is far from ideal for home caregivers. Running errands and keeping an elderly patient on a schedule, requires energy. For caregivers already dealing with difficult situations, an extra helping of anxiety is not helpful. So, keeping thyroid levels balanced is essential.
Most often a thyroid issues occur in response to immune system disorders that causes the body to misread the thyroid as a danger and to create a defense that damages it. Hashimoto’s Thyroid and Grave’s disease are among the common causes of thyroid issues.
Diagnosing thyroid issues can be difficult, as the symptoms are similar to the symptoms of many other conditions. A blood test to measure T3 and T4 levels, as well as TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) can usually provide an indication of the health of the thyroid.
Treatment usually involves a drug called levothyroxine. When properly administered, most people respond well to treatment.
Home caregivers who think they might possibly have a thyroid issue should bring this to the attention of their doctor.
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