Signs You May Have An Overactive Thyroid
The symptoms of an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) are so wide-ranging — affecting your mood, energy, body temperature, weight, heart, and more — that it may be difficult to identify the correct designation right away.
The risk of hyperthyroidism increases the older we get. The diagnosis of thyroid problems can be particularly tricky in older individuals.
A study, performed in France, compared signs and symptoms in elderly participants with an overactive thyroid with the symptoms experienced by younger people. The older patients were not likely to show the expected signs of increased sweating, heat intolerance, trembling of the hands, nervousness, high level of thirst, with increased appetite. While older people can experience these typical symptoms, the following symptoms usually provide important indications of possible thyroid issues.
- Depression: An older person with hyperthyroidism is more likely than a younger person with the disease to develop depression.
- Heart failure: The heavy stress an overactive thyroid places on the heart may lead to heart failure. A condition where the heart cannot pump blood through the body sufficiently. Signs of a person experiencing heart failure include trouble breathing, swelling in the ankles, and weakness and chronic fatigue.
- Irregular Heartbeat: Other studies have shown, 35% of people advanced ages with hyperthyroidism experienced the irregular heart rhythms or atrial fibrillation also known as irregular heartbeat, while only 2% of younger patients developed this problem.
- Extreme Weight Loss: A younger person with hyperthyroidism may experience some weight loss, but older people tend to lose even more weight, and may even appear malnourished. Muscle weakness can be a side effect of such severe weight loss.
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