I need help for my grandma and her overactive thyroid/anemia

I've been given the pleasure of cooking nutritious meals for my grandma who's in her 80s. I absolutely love doing it and love spending time w her. She's had trouble w an overactive thyroid for quite some time and on meds for it. Recently she went to the doctor and now she has anemia & AFib and they want to take her off the thyroid med to avoid a stroke. Also she's lost more weight which isn't good. I've upped the protein, iron and vit C trying to help the anemia but she continues to lose weight while eating very well. Now lowering or taking her off the thyroid med I want to make sure she doesnt lose too much weight. I welcome any suggestions or help. This woman is priceless.

Replies

  • apullum
    apullum Posts: 4,888 Member
    What has her doctor said about her weight loss? If she seems to be eating well but is still losing weight, that sounds like a concern for her doctor to check out. In addition, you might ask for a referral to a registered dietician who can help you plan meals that work for her medical conditions.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,601 Member
    taking her off thyroid meds can be dangerous if not done properly - is she seeing an endocrinology for her hyperthyroid or just a general practioner?
  • Mandygring
    Mandygring Posts: 704 Member
    She sees a heart dr, endocrinologist, and General practioner
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,601 Member
    Which of the 3 wants to take her off thyroid meds? Recommend you get ALL 3 on a conference call together to discuss treatment and medications
  • apullum
    apullum Posts: 4,888 Member
    Which of the 3 wants to take her off thyroid meds? Recommend you get ALL 3 on a conference call together to discuss treatment and medications

    Yes, this. Too often with relatives who have multiple medical conditions that each require a different specialist, I have seen one doctor make a decision that should have been made in consultation with the entire medical team. All of your grandma's doctors need to know what medications she is on, and how changing one medication might affect her condition overall.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,609 Member
    I knowyou have her best interests at heart - but I don't think anyone here can offer constructive advice - complex medical situations are beyond the scope of random Internet advice .
  • ladyreva78
    ladyreva78 Posts: 4,080 Member
    I had an iron issue for years...only once I saw a naturopath (I also deal with thyroid/hashimotos) I was given shots of iron with B12. I was not absorbing iron through my stomach due to a b12 deficiency. This is fairly common. You may want to have that checked on her.

    My other suggestion is to try and avoid gluten and soy. This all helped me avoid getting on meds for thyroid.

    I swear, see a naturopath you will get answers! It was life saving for me.

    Best of luck!

    No. OP's grandmother does not need a naturopath. B12 Deficiency and Iron deficiency might be caused by the same thing (not enough acidity in the stomach, various medications, physiological changes as we age, etc.) but do not cause each other. Heck, they're not even absorbed at the same place in the intestines.

    Also, OP's grandmother is struggling to eat enough to maintain her weight (even with her thyroid medicated). Telling her to exclude foods without a good medical cause will simply make it harder for her to meet her basic energy requirements.

    @Mandygring I second the idea of getting an RD on board on your grandmother's treatment team and to make sure that the various actors on that treatment team communicate with each other (this is sadly often underestimated or simply assumed).

    It's entirely possible that a medication your grandmother is taking is causing her to not absorb enough iron, in this case, it might be next to impossible to improve that situation without (yet another) medication. An RD would be able to look at all of that and possibly sift through the various issues and make suggestions on what to change in the foods.

    A first step (used in the treatment plans of malnutrition patients where I live) would be to enrich her food as much as possible and include protein/energy rich snacks in between (3 meals + 3 snacks) to avoid needing her to eat too much at one sitting.

    Enriching options:
    - use full fat products (no fat reduced or light versions)
    - add an extra spoon full of oil where possible (something like olive oil or canola oil)
    - use fattier cuts of meat
    - Drinks should be energy rich (no light/zero products).

    Just be careful about not adding too much fat at once. These can act satiating to some people, which might cut her appetite if too much too fast is added. Also, too much too quickly might cause her diarrhea. Slowly increasing is the best approach in this case.

    Carbs will help provide the basic energy your grandmother needs, and in liquid form means she'll be able to have more of them without adding to food volume (can get an issue as it can eventually gets tiring to eat enough)

    An RD would be able to give you more specific solutions tailored to your grandmother (and her eating preferences). These are just basic suggestion on how to make a meal more energy rich
  • Mandygring
    Mandygring Posts: 704 Member
    Thank you guys soo much for taking time out to read and answer. I will talk some of this over w her in the morning. :)
  • ToniMomToThree
    ToniMomToThree Posts: 1 Member
    What type of condition is causing her over active thyroid-do you know? HyperThyroid can itself raise heart rate. I’ve also had a heart condition in conjunction with my thyroid condition that was particularly dangerous. I truly hope she’s in good hands in regards to doctors. Taking her off meds seems crazy to me. Especially with Afib!!! And Cereals like malt o meal are a great source of Iron, if she would eat that. She most likely will not gain weight if her thyroid is considerably over active no matter what she eats.
    I wish you and your Grandmother well!!!
  • Mandygring
    Mandygring Posts: 704 Member
    I just thought that was the condition. I know its caused her to grow a big goiter inside her neck and sometimes certain foods choke her up. She had a reaction to one of the new meds prescribed to her. I wanna say elloquis(?) I can check later bc everything is written down.
    Thank you for the warm wishes
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,621 Member
    edited December 2018
    I'm anemic and cannot manage it through diet alone. Between supplements and food, I have to get about 400% of the RDA just to stay in Low Normal.

    There are many forms of iron and the first two the doctor gave me were not effective. However, I am with the VA so presumably these were cheaper forms of iron.

    I'm currently taking two of these a day: https://www.amazon.com/Solgar-Gentle-Iron-Vegetable-Capsules/dp/B00013Z0QA/

    Unlike other forms of iron, this does not constipate me.

    I suggest you discuss this with her doctor and see how often she should have her iron levels rechecked - when I slip back into Anemic my doctor likes to recheck in a few months, and yearly.

    ps - like others have said, do try to get all of the specialists to talk to each other and also track down why she is losing weight.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,609 Member
    Mandygring wrote: »
    I just thought that was the condition. I know its caused her to grow a big goiter inside her neck and sometimes certain foods choke her up. She had a reaction to one of the new meds prescribed to her. I wanna say elloquis(?) I can check later bc everything is written down.
    Thank you for the warm wishes

    Probably Eliquis - commonly used blood thinner for people with AF.