The thyroid is a gland that is shaped like a bow tie and sits under the skin in the front of your neck. The thyroid produces hormones needed by cells in the body in order to work properly. These hormones, called T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triidothyronine), control the body's use of energy and are key factors in helping kids grow.
The thyroid has often been compared to a thermostat: if it's too active and produces too much T4 and T3, the thermostat allows the house to get overheated (hyperthyroidism). If it's not active enough, the house is too cold (hypothyroidism).
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include feeling uncomfortably hot without reason, unexplained weight loss or gain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, trembling hands, irregular heartbeat (palpitations), and increased irritability. When hyperthyroidism is severe, patients can suffer shortness of breath, chest pain, and muscle weakness.
People that are over the age of 50, female, or obese, or those who have had thyroid surgery or exposure of the neck to X-ray or radiation treatments, are at increased risk of developing hypothyroidism.
Disability Benefits for Thyroid Disorders
Social Security does not have a specific disability listing for thyroid disorders since most people can control their thyroid disorder with medication. However, some patients do suffer from complications due to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, including heart problems, strokes, unintentional weight gain or loss, depression, and anxiety. Here is how the SSA evaluates these thyroid-related complications.
- Thyroid-related heart conditions are assessed under Listing 4.00, Cardiovascular System.
- Thyroid cancer is assessed under Listing 13.09, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases - Thyroid.
- Unintentional weight loss is assessed under Listing 5.08, under Digestive Systems.
- Strokes are assessed under Listing 11.04, under Central Nervous System Vascular Accidents.
- Depression, anxiety, and cognitive problems are assessed under Listing 12.00, Mood Disorders.