Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, November 26, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page A:9



Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 26, 2016 



Dear Savvy Senior,

Can you write a column on the overlooked problem of thyroid 
disease? After struggling with chronic fatigue, joint pain and 
memory problems, I was finally diagnosed hypothyroidism. 
Now, at age 70, I’m on thyroid medication and am doing 
great. Five years of feeling lousy. I wish I’d have known. 

Frustrated Patient

Dear Frustrated,

I’m glad to hear that you’re finally feeling better. 
Unfortunately, thyroid problems are quite common in older 
adults but can be tricky to detect because the symptoms 
often resemble other age related health problems. In fact, as 
many as 30 million Americans have some form of thyroid 
disorder, but more than half of them aren’t aware of it. 

 Here’s a basic overview: The thyroid is a small butterfly-
shaped gland located at the base of your neck that has a 
huge job. It produces hormones (called T3 and T4) that 
help regulate the rate of many of your body’s activities, 
from how quickly you burn calories to how fast your heart 
beats. It also influences the function of the brain, liver, 
kidneys and skin. 

 If the gland is underactive and doesn’t produce enough 
thyroid hormones, it causes body systems to slow down. If 
it’s overactive, and churns out too much thyroid, it has the 
opposite effect, speeding up the body’s processes. 

 The symptoms for an underactive thyroid (also known as 
hypothyroidism) – the most common thyroid disorder in 
older adults – will vary but may include fatigue, unexplained 
weight gain, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, 
joint pain, muscle stiffness, dry skin and depression. Some 
patients may even develop an enlarged thyroid (goiter) at 
the base of the neck. However, in older adults, it can cause 
other symptoms like memory impairment, loss of appetite, 
weight loss, falls or even incontinence.

 And the symptoms of an overactive thyroid (or 
hyperthyroidism), which is more common in people under 
age 50, may include a rapid heart rate, anxiety, insomnia, 
increased appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, excessive 
perspiration, as well as an enlarged thyroid gland. Too 
much thyroid can also cause atrial fibrillation, affect blood 
pressure and decrease bone density, which increases the 
risk of osteoporosis. 

 Those with the greatest risk of developing thyroid 
disorders are women who have a family history of the 
disease. Other factors that can trigger thyroid problems 
include: autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s or Graves 
disease; thyroid surgery; radiation treatments to the neck or 
upper chest; and certain medications including interferon 
alpha and interleukin-2 cancer medications, amiodarone 
heart medication and lithium for bipolar disorder.

Get Tested

If you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, or if 
you’ve had previous thyroid problems or notice a lump 
in the base of your neck, ask your doctor to check your 
thyroid levels. The TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) 
blood test is used to diagnosis thyroid disorders.

 Thyroid disease is easily treated once you’ve been 
diagnosed. Standard treatment for hypothyroidism 
involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone 
levothyroxine (Levothroid, Synthroid and others), which is 
an oral medication that restores adequate hormone levels. 

 And treatments for hyperthyroidism may include an 
anti-thyroid medication such as methimazole (Tapazole), 
which blocks the production of thyroid hormones. Another 
option is radioactive iodine, which is taken orally and 
destroys the overactive thyroid cells and causes the gland 
to shrink. But this can leave the thyroid unable to produce 
any hormone and it’s likely that you’ll eventually become 
hypothyroid and need to start taking thyroid medication.

 For more information on thyroid disorders, visit the 
American Thyroid Association at


 Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 
5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim 
Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of 
“The Savvy Senior” book.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! ….November Birthdays*

Flo Mankin, Alberta Curran, Carmela Frontino, Kathy Wood, Lena Zate, Joe 
Pergola, Janice Kacer, Valerie Howard, “Mike” Ruggles, Joan Ruggles, Lois Stueck, 
Jean Wood, Shirley Yergeau, Kathi Jefferson, Pat Krok, Irene Nakagawa, Anna Ross, 
Mary Steinberg and Sue Quinn. 

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. 
YEAR of birth not required but you must be over 60.


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the 
Hart Park House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre



 YWCA San Gabriel Valley - Intervale Senior Cafe 

Seniors 60 years of age and up can participate in the YWCA Intervale daily 
lunch program held at the Hart Park House Senior Center. Meals are served Monday through Friday 
at 12:00 pm and participants are encouraged to arrive by 11:45 am. Meals are a suggested donation of 
$3.00 for seniors 60 and over or $5.00 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary, space is 
limited. Please reserve your lunch by calling 626-355-0256.

Tech Talk: Will resume in the fall. 

Hawaiian and Polynesian Dance Class: Every Tuesday morning from 10:00 - 11:00am. Join instructor 
Barbara Dempsey as she instructs you in the art of hula. 

Bingo: Every Tuesday beginning at 1:00 pm. Cards are only $0.25 each! Everyone is welcome to join. 
May be cancelled if less than 5 people. 

Free Blood Pressure Testing: 2nd Tuesday of the month from 11:00am - 12:00 pm. No appt. necessary. 

Chair Yoga: Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:00 - 11:45am. A suggested donation of $5 at one of the 
classes is requested, but is not required. 

Case Management: Meets the second Thursday of the month. Case Management services are provided 
by the YWCA and provide assistance in a variety of areas. Appointments are required and can be 
scheduled by calling the HPH Office at 626-355-7394. 

Birthday Celebrations: Every second Thursday of the month at the Hart Park House. The free birthday 
cake is provided by the Sierra Madre Civic Club. 

 Game Day: Every Thursday starting at 12:00 pm. (Please note the time change.) A regular group of 
seniors play poker. Other games available for use. 

 Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 12:45 - 1:30 pm with Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes 
light weights for low impact resistance training. All materials for the class are provided. 

Senior Club: Every Saturday at the Hart Park House Senior Center. Brown bag lunch at 11:30am. 


Thurday, October 27th, 11:00am - 1:30pm

Medicare Annual Election Period is here. If you have any questions on your health plans, please 
come to the Medicare Resource Table at the Hart Park House on October 27th from 11:00 a.m. 
to 1:30 p.m. A licensed representative will be available to answer questions as well as gather 
information. No appointment necessary.




Date: Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 
Time: 9:45am - 2:30pm 
Meeting Location: Hart Park House 
Cost: $10.00 (Does not include lunch)

Description: Founded in 1894, the historic Graber Olive House 
is located in a pleasant residential area north of Ontario’s 
Business District. Here in quiet and serene surroundings, 
visitors are welcomed and delighted to discover a bit of early California. Participants will take a guided 
tour of the facility and may browse leisurely in the gift shop which feature Graber Olives, fine goods, 
and gifts. Lunch will be on your own at Molly’s Souper. Please bring money for lunch and souvenirs if 
desired. Level of walking: Medium. Please call the Hart Park House 626-355-7394.

KATIE Tse..........This and That


I hope you had a great 
Thanksgiving and that you 
didn’t go nuts yesterday with 
Black Friday. While businesses 
try to make an honest profit, there are many who use 
nefarious means to try to get rich quick. Recently my 
aunt shared a funny encounter with us.

 A couple days before Thanksgiving she received 
a call. This is a rough 
transcript of what took 

Aunt Margie: Hello?

Scammer: Grandma!

Aunt Margie: Uh, I’m 
sorry, you must have the 
wrong number, I don’t have 
any grandchildren.

Scammer: Oh, sorry... just 
got up, I meant to say Aunt 
Marjorie. This is your 
niece, the pretty one.

Aunt Margie: I do have a 
niece, but you’re not her, 
since she never calls me 
‘Aunt Marjorie.’ *click*

 Of course my parents 
and I had a good laugh 
with Margie about it. She 
said if she had more time to 
think about it she could’ve 
had some fun stringing the 
scammer along like my dad 
always does with the bogus 
calls he and my mom 
get (see archived articles 
“Know Your Victim,” “Welcome to Senility,” & “From 
Beijing with Love”). My theory is that once you turn 
65, your information is entered into a clandestine 
database for scammers. They assume that by now 
you’re a doddering old fogy drooling into your glass 
of metamucil in front of the TV, watching reruns of 
the Lawrence Welk show with varying degrees of 
alertness. Little do they know that many of their 
supposed victims are often mentally sharper than 
their younger counterparts! Most of the smartest, 
wittiest people I know are over 65. Needless to say, 
they didn’t get far with Margie. Here is a transcript of 
what could’ve happened, had she had more of a heads 

Aunt Margie: Hello?

Scammer: Grandma!

Aunt Margie: Well... tell me, who’s this?

Scammer: This is your favorite granddaughter, the 
pretty one.

Aunt Margie: Well, you 
know, honey, none of 
my grandkids are beauty 
queens. Which one are you?

Scammer: Uh... Crystal. 
Anyway, Grandma, I’m in 
awful trouble!

Aunt Margie: Oh know, 
dear, what is it? Were you 
tweeting dumb stuff again? 
I’ve told you that’s poor 

Scammer: No, Grandma. 
I had an accident, I’m in 
Tijuana and the police say I 
won’t be able to come back 
to the U.S. unless you wire 
$2,000 right now. After that 
you can wire me $5,000 to 
get back across the border.

Aunt Margie: Geez, 
Amber! --I mean, Crystal. 
I’ve always told you, you 
drive like your father. I 
always told your mother she 
has poor taste is men. Now, 
what address are you at in TJ? 

Scammer: Oh no, you don’t have to worry about the 
address, just wire the money to--

Aunt Margie: Oh no, I need your address! How else 
am I going to tell your mom and dad where you are? 
In fact, I’ll call them right now on the other line. You 
just wait and you can talk to them yourself. I’m sure 
they’ll understand. They were young and stupid 
once, too. Crystal? Crystal, you there, sweetie?

Scammer: dial tone---------------------- 

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