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I have a friend who is 72 and has been for the last couple years haveing spells where she briefly passes out and spurts out in a rattling manner obsenities. She has diarhea and cannot put on weight. She has also been losing her vision. I am wondering if this could be associated with hyperthyroidism. She thinks she has Tourettes Syndrome, but I didn't think that Tourette Syndrome came on at a late age. She did have Narcalepse as a child. Could you please describe the symptoms of both. Thank you.

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Hello, 

I would have to agree with you – chances of Tourette’s syndrome starting to show signs at age of 72 are not only unlikely, but they virtually don’t exist. Even though the exact cause of the syndrome is unknown, the symptoms always start to manifest in childhood. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism has many obvious physical signs, from goiter, to changes in skin or hair. But, more importantly, a basic blood test can detect levels of thyroid hormones and convince your friend.

What seems more likely to cause diarrhea are problems with gallbladder, especially if they happen more often after meals. And as far as the “episodes” of passing out, there is a very common condition that comes with both age and prolonged weight loss that could be the cause: vitamin B deficiency. This is fully treatable and your friend must see the doctor both to check her health and to get the right treatment.

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