Hypothyroidism is a serious medical condition that can be tricky to diagnose in men over 60. As men age, the symptoms of hypothyroidism are often mistaken for symptoms that many men of this age suffer from on a daily basis. The thyroid gland is responsible for many of the body’s functions, like regulating metabolism, and therefore many men over 60 experience both physical and mental symptoms.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when there is an abnormally low amount of activity in the thyroid gland, a small gland in the front of a patient’s neck. A sluggish thyroid gland may cause a number of symptoms, including: muscle weakness, mental and physical fatigue, fluid retention, weight gain, hearing and vision difficulties, depression, headaches and dizziness in the mornings, and many other symptoms. Any combination of symptoms should be taken seriously. Patients should schedule an appointment with their primary care provider, or endocrinologist, as soon as possible.
Causes of Hypothyroidism:
There are many causes of hypothyroidism. Men are more prone to having under-active thyroid glands, and patients who have previously experienced a goiter, or swelling of the neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland, are more likely to exhibit symptoms of low thyroid function. Family history of hypothyroidism, as well as a history of radiotherapy to the neck, may cause an increased risk as well.
Recent studies also suggest that environmental toxins play a significant role in the cause of thyroid dysfunction. Some environmental factors include: adrenal issues, H.Pylori, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, side effects of certain medications, hormonal fluctuations, and even diseases such as Hashimoto’ Disease and thyroiditis (the two most common causes of hypothyroidism), diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, can have a negative impact on the thyroid functions of men over 60.
Treatment Options for Hypothyroidism:
Many doctors will stress the importance of prevention as the first treatment option. Men over 60 should pay special attention to the amount of processed foods they eat, avoid excessive stress, and avoid toxins from unfiltered drinking water and smoking. Men over 60 should also ask for a thyroid shield before any dental x-rays.
There are both pharmacological and natural treatment options available to patients. Common treatments include Iodine pills, Whole Gland Desiccated products, and Synthoid, a synthetic T4 hormone replacement often prescribed by doctors and endocrinologists.
Additionally, most medical professionals suggest starting with natural treatment options, which can be gentler on a patient’s system. As a matter of fact, many patients respond well to herbal and homeopathic treatments, and never need to switch to traditional thyroid medications. Holistic alternatives, such as porcine thyroid, which is a natural substance containing all the essential thyroid hormones, as well as a time released T3, have been shown to be extremely effective in patients. Holistic health coaches will also suggest a thyroid healthy diet, and the inclusion of herbal glutathione supplements, Echinacea, Eleuthero, and even Ashwagandha and Adrenal Complex products that increase adrenal health and restore help support a healthy lifestyle.
In summary, combining natural and pharmacological treatment options, adopting a healthy diet, and reducing the amount of stress and toxins patients consume, can speed up the recovery process, and in some cases cure hypothyroid related conditions and symptoms. Men over 60 should pay special attention to their thyroid levels and auto-immune system in order to maintain a strong, healthy, and happy life for years to come.