Understanding Thyroid Health for Seniors
Let’s talk about something small but very important in your body, it’s called the thyroid. Though it’s tiny, it does a big job. This butterfly-shaped gland in your neck makes hormones to help your body work well. We’ll explore the thyroid and what it does, along with tips on keeping a healthy thyroid.
What does the thyroid do?
The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism, which is the process of how our body converts food into energy. It also affects other important functions such as heart rate, body temperature, and weight management. But, as we grow older, sometimes the thyroid can have problems.
Why is it important for seniors to maintain a healthy thyroid?
As we age, our bodies tend to produce less hormones and our metabolism slows down. This can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, and sensitivity to cold temperatures. It can also increase the risk of developing other health conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
On the other hand, seniors may also experience hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much hormones. This can cause symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heart rate, and anxiety. It can also increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat.
How to Keep Your Thyroid Healthy
Taking care of your thyroid means taking care of your overall health, especially when you’re older. Here are a couple of tips on how you can help keep your thyroid healthy.
Eat a balanced diet: A well-rounded and nutrient-rich diet can help support our thyroid health. Foods like fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins are great for keeping our thyroid in check.
Stay physically active: Regular exercise not only helps keep our body weight in a healthy range, but it can also support thyroid function.
Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can contribute to hormonal imbalances and may affect our thyroid health. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Limit stress: Chronic stress can impact hormone production and lead to imbalances in the body. Find healthy ways to manage stress like yoga, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is important for our overall health, including our thyroid function. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water per day.
Take thyroid medication as prescribed: If your doctor has prescribed medication to help balance your thyroid hormones, make sure to take it as directed and attend regular check-ups.
Our thyroid health is a pivotal factor in our overall well-being. By following these tips and maintaining regular communication with your doctor, you can support a healthy thyroid even as you age. Should there be any questions or concerns about your thyroid health, never hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.
WelbeHealth provides full-service healthcare and personalized support to help you age well at home and in your community. Our Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) meets the changing needs of seniors, often at no cost. Find out if you qualify today, welbehealth.com/contact.