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Authors

  1. HOLCOMB, SUSAN SIMMONS RN-CS, CCRN, FNP, MN

Abstract

Thyroid dysfunction can mimic signs and symptoms of aging. Find out how to recognize problems early.

 

Evelyn Smith, 60, visits her health care provider complaining of depression, weight gain, and fatigue. Her last physical exam, a year ago, showed elevated BP at 140/90, increased cholesterol, and a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level at the upper end of normal. Her vital signs include: pulse, 50 and regular; BP, 160/90; respirations, 12; and temperature, 97[degrees] F (36.1[degrees] C).

 

Jonah Voss, 56, comes to your emergency department complaining of abdominal pain, hot flashes, rapid heartbeat, and feeling as if he's going to jump out of his skin. He reports losing weight and having trouble sleeping. You notice he's extremely tremulous. You attach a cardiac monitor and begin oxygen (2 liters/minute via nasal cannula). Your assessment findings include: pulse, 130 and irregular; BP, 90/60; respirations, 24; and temperature, 101[degrees]F (38.3[degrees] C). The cardiac monitor reveals atrial fibrillation.