Findings This population-based cohort study found significant differences in life expectancy within the reference range of thyroid function. After age 50 years, individuals with low-normal thyroid function lived longer overall and longer without cardiovascular disease than individuals with high-normal thyroid function.
We investigated the association of thyroid function with life expectancy with and without NCD among euthyroid individuals. We found that individuals with low–normal thyroid function live up to 3.7 years longer overall, of which up to 1.9 years longer with NCD, than individuals with high–normal thyroid function.
Extremely low levels of thyroid hormone can cause a life-threatening condition called myxedema. Myxedema is the most severe form of hypothyroidism. A person with myxedema can lose consciousness or go into a coma. The condition can also cause the body temperature to drop very low, which can cause death.
The prevalence of overt hypothyroidism increases in the elderly and approximates 5% in those older than 60 years of age. Autoimmune thyroiditis and the overtreatment of pre-existing hyperthyroidism are the main causes of hypothyroidism in the elderly.
Although numerous studies demonstrate that the increased TSH level resulting from subclinical hypothyroidism further rises with aging [6-12], other findings suggest that aging is associated – in the absence of any thyroid disease – with lower TSH levels [30-35].
Symptoms of hypothyroidism usually appear slowly over several months or years. However, some people develop symptoms of hypothyroidism quickly over a few months. In general, the lower your thyroid hormone levels become and the longer they stay low, the more severe your symptoms will be.
If an underactive thyroid is not treated, it can lead to complications, including heart disease, goitre, pregnancy problems and a life-threatening condition called myxoedema coma (although this is very rare).
What can happen if you don't treat hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.
There are a variety of thyroid gland disorders than can negatively impact your life, two of which are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid gland disorder, you may qualify for social security disability benefits if your condition is severe enough.
An underactive thyroid is a lifelong condition, so you'll usually need to take levothyroxine for the rest of your life. If you're prescribed levothyroxine because you have an underactive thyroid, you're entitled to a medical exemption certificate. This means you do not have to pay for your prescriptions.
Hypothyroidism is underactivity of the thyroid gland that leads to inadequate production of thyroid hormones and a slowing of vital body functions. Facial expressions become dull, the voice is hoarse, speech is slow, eyelids droop, and the eyes and face become puffy.
If your thyroid gland is under active, this usually causes your skin to become dry. Fine lines and wrinkles appear earlier and are more noticeable. It is well known that an under active thyroid gland will age you more rapidly.
You may feel nervous, moody, weak, or tired. Your hands may shake, your heart may beat fast, or you may have problems breathing. You may be sweaty or have warm, red, itchy skin. You may have more bowel movements than usual.
Aim for a breakfast that includes all the food groups: whole grains, meat or beans, vegetables, fruit and dairy. For grains, choose oatmeal, whole grain cereal, granola, whole wheat pancakes or a whole wheat tortilla. Make a breakfast burrito with scrambled egg whites and sauteed vegetables.
Coffee: Time Your First Cup Carefully in the Morning
Per a study in the journal Thyroid, caffeine has been found to block absorption of thyroid hormone replacement. "People who were taking their thyroid medication with their morning coffee had uncontrollable thyroid levels, and we couldn't figure it out," says Dr. Lee.