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Managing Hypothyroidism in Senior Adults Through CCM

Posted by Dr. Joseph F. West on Jan 24, 2017 3:39:01 PM
Aging heightens onset for thyroid disease. Thyroid disease may elevate risks factors for high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis and reduced cognitive function. Thyroid disease may be difficult to detect or may be wrongly attributed to existing chronic disease. There are two types of diagnoses for the disease. When the thyroid produces too much hormone it’s called hyperthyroid. If too little hormone is made, it’s called hypothyroid. Hypothyroidism is much more common in the elderly population, and older women particularly are at risk with 1 in 5 women over the age of 65 having hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism such as fatigue, lack of concentration, or dry skin can look like complaints associated with aging. Other symptoms can include arthritis, intolerance to cold or rapid temperature change, fluctuations in weight, or problems in the heart's electrical system which can cause it to beat abnormally slow. Severe hypothyroidism may lead to congestive heart failure. Emotional and psychiatric well-being are major concerns for hypothyroidism. Depression, seizures, senile dementia, and slurred speech could be caused by hypothyroidism. In addition, low thyroid function is commonly associated with deteriorating cognition and Alzheimer's disease. Changes in cognitive efficacy can be related to declines in working memory, language processing, problem-solving, long-term memory, and decision-making.

Patient education is an integral part of care. Chronic Care Management (CCM) can help patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers remain mindful of symptoms for hypothyroidism. For those patients diagnosed with the disease, CCM Care Managers can coordinate follow-up care with an endocrinologist, another specialist, or home care.

In addition to specific hypothyroidism treatment recommendations and care planning, Care Managers can monthly discuss related healthcare topics with patients. For example, many older adults are interested in nutrition, sexuality and aging, exercise, and other topics related to preventing illness and promoting quality of life. Seniors may be interested in tips for removing barriers to independence and learning how to maximize their strengths. CCM Care Managers are a strong resource for encouraging patient follow-up, building an awareness of community services to lessen social isolation, and adherence to medical recommendations.

With advancing age, there is often a corresponding normal decline in touch, hearing, vision, and memory function. The effects of chronic diseases, together with the normal changes that occur with aging, may hinder patient education. Care Managers are trained to identify challenges which hamper learning. They can provide patients with the right tools to address complex disease like hypothyroidism. Caregivers and healthcare providers must remember to check for an accurate diagnosis since hypothyroidism often looks a lot like another system in the body. Older patients with hypothyroidism require special attention to gradual and careful treatment, and most likely will require lifelong follow-up. Through careful assessment of developmental factors, selection of age-appropriate and tailored strategies is important to implement effective hypothyroidism patient and provider education.
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Topics: CCM, Cognitive Health, low thyroid function, hypothyroidism

Parkinson’s Disease and Chronic Care Management

Posted by Dr. Joseph F. West on Jan 11, 2017 3:30:00 PM
Parkinson's disease is the second most common chronic progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Like Alzheimer disease, the most common neurodegenerative condition in America, symptoms of Parkinson's patient's progress and worsen over time. Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain caused by a lack of dopamine that may result in shaking and difficulty with walking, movement, speaking, swallowing and coordination. Older adults with chronic conditions and complex illness may have an increased vulnerability to the disease. Parkinson's disease is one of the most common nervous system disorders for seniors over the age 50.
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Topics: TCM, CCM, Mental Health, Parkinson's disease, Cognitive Health

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This blog allows us the opportunity to share insights into unique information, news and updates, as well as provide a place to interact with you. As a care management organization, our blogs will take you through the many facets of care management, from chronic care and transitional care management, to population health management which is where we begin.

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