As we get older we become more susceptible to infections. The immune system doesn’t work as well as it used to. It’s more difficult if you are also dealing with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD or emphysema), heart problems or cancer.
The COVID-19 pandemic is more than enough to wear anyone out. The prevention practices alone are exhausting — remembering your mask, disinfecting, social distancing — all those unpleasantries that the responsible among us deal with every day. Add caring for a loved one to the mix and you need to be on alert for caregiver burnout.
Thyroid trouble? As we age, the risk of our thyroid not working properly increases. I know, yet another thing. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ in the neck, just above your collar bone and below your voice box. If you’re a man, it’s not your Adam’s apple, it’s just below it. The thyroid’s job is to produce hormones that regulate how the body uses and stores energy. It can be under- or overactive. It can develop lumps or nodules. Or it could become cancerous.
Lee, who’s in her 60s, thought she might have thyroid cancer a few years ago when a CT scan she had for something else showed a lump or a nodule on her thyroid. Further testing came back suspicious for papillary cancer, the most common type of thyroid cancer. “Suspicious” doesn’t automatically mean cancer, but Lee’s odds were 60 to 70 percent and the next step was surgery to find out for sure.