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Hyperthyroiditis: Maternal Health in Low-Income Areas

Many new mothers struggle with the aftermath of giving birth, whether that be postpartum depression or blood glucose swings. However, there is no doubt that these problems are very serious to all women experiencing them. Hyperthyroiditis is an uncommon condition in which a previously normal thyroid gland is affected. This illness includes physical and emotional aspects, which can have a much bigger effect on many people in low-income areas.

Hyperthyroiditis affects mothers around a year after childbirth. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical symptoms can include, “rapid heartbeat or palpitations, unexplained weight loss, increased sensitivity to heat, fatigue, tremor, insomnia, or neck swelling.” Being a mother comes with its challenges, and having an illness that can last from weeks to even months can take a huge toll on a mother’s body. Every physical symptom adds up when having a child. Having to get up in the middle of the night to comfort your newborn can add to the exhaustion of fatigue and insomnia. The stress of being a parent can be worsened by the palpitations which, in turn, cause shortness of breath and chest pain.

Other physical symptoms do not directly relate to the hardships of being a parent but solely relate to the condition. Neck swelling is caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland which can cause difficulty swallowing. Weight loss can occur because of the sped up metabolism of the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroiditis affects the physical well being of mothers; however, mental health plays a separate and important role.


Mental health can be something that many people struggle with on their own terms. On the other hand, it can be a whole new world to women struggling with hyperthyroiditis. This illness presents many physical symptoms, but the mental aspects can affect the mother just as much. Anxiety, stress, and depression are all symptoms that develop when experiencing hyperthyroiditis. These symptoms are often hard to recognize because they are similar to that of postpartum mood disorders. Even though they are both postpartum, the two illnesses carry a whole new set of challenges. In relation to the physical symptom of rapid heart palpitations, the new mother can experience stress by thinking that she is having a heart attack or other heart-related health issues. Tremors can be a sign of anxiety while dealing with the new emotions of being a mother. This condition, however, is different to many people worldwide and has different effects on many people in low-income areas.


Having steady healthcare in low-income areas is not common. According to the Yale School of Medicine, with maternal health, “the gap in accessible health care appears to be growing.” The Yale School of Medicine also stated that, “A research team led by the Yale School of Public Health has found that many pregnant women in low-income areas have to travel farther than their peers to reach the nearest hospitals to deliver their babies.” Though this doesn’t relate to hyperthyroiditis, it is still a serious problem because of the distance hospitals are from women who suffer with this condition. The lack of accessibility can later lead the condition to worsen over time. In severe situations, this illness could require surgery. Having the travel distance between these areas and hospitals be 30-miles or more is extensive.

All in all, hyperthyroiditis is a severe condition which affects a person’s physical and mental health, and it can have a much bigger effect on those in low-income areas. There are no ways to prevent this illness, but it is advised to always talk to a doctor if there is an increased risk for hyperthyroiditis. Having a family history of thyroid problems can increase the likelihood of a person getting thyroid problems after pregnancy. However, with women who live in low-income areas, this can be a problem. Suffering from this condition with a need for accessible healthcare is often unavailable in low-income areas. There needs to be a change, and talking to senators or other government officials could be one small step closer to a brighter future for maternal health.


Works Cited

“Postpartum Thyroiditis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Dec. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-thyroiditis/symptoms-causes/syc-20376675.


“Many Women in Low-Income Areas Have Poor Access to Obstetric and Neonatal Care, Study Finds.” Yale School of Medicine, 16 Mar. 2018, medicine.yale.edu/news-article/16940.


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