Thursday, April 11, 2024

What Is Thyroid Antibodies Test

A Note On Antibodies In Pregnancy

Why test for thyroid antibodies?

Thyroid disease is associated with poor outcomes in pregnancy, the risk of which is increased in the presence of antibodies. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and are concerned about thyroid disease itâs important to discuss this with your GP.

Note that the blood test ranges used in pregnancy are different and are trimester-specific.

Thyroid Antibodies You Are Most Likely To Test Positive For

Many of you have read about thyroid antibodies Antibodies “protein produced in the blood that fight diseases by attacking and killing harmful bacteria” , or seen them mentioned in your blood tests. Because it sounds pretty technical, some of us get a bit confused about the whole thing so here is an explanation.

You know that the body produces antibodies as part of a normal immune response to foreign invaders, like viruses and bacteria. It happens that certain body proteins Proteins “plant or animal tissue” , going peacefully about their business, can get attacked by the immune system Immune system “the organs and processes in the body that work together to resist infections” , even if they have done nothing wrong. When this happens the body cells being wrongly attacked can be damaged and destroyed. This can happen in a number of ways, but we, of course, are most interested in the thyroid.

What Is A Normal Range For Thyroid Antibodies

It depends on the type of thyroid antibody, alongside a variety of factors.

According to Thyroid UK, the reference range for Tg Ab should be less than 200 milli-international units per milliliter or an antibody index of no higher than 0.9. The reference range for TPOAb should be less than 150 mUI/ml or an antibody index of no higher than 0.9.

However, it is also important to note that different laboratories may have different reference ranges.

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What Blood Tests Do Doctors Use To Check Thyroid Function

Doctors may order one or more blood tests to check your thyroid function. Tests may include thyroid stimulating hormone , T4, T3, and thyroid antibody tests.

For these tests, a health care professional will draw blood from your arm and send it to a lab for testing. Your doctor will talk to you about your test results.

Many Tests Can Detect This Common Thyroid Disorder

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In addition to conducting a physical examination and taking your unique symptoms into account, your doctor will use one or more laboratory tests to diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This article will cover the 3 most common diagnostic tests that detect this common thyroid disorder: the thyroid-stimulating hormone test, anti-thyroid antibodies tests, and the free T4 hormone test.

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What To Do After Taking A Thyroid Antibodies Test

To help make sense of your results, you can ask your healthcare provider questions such as:

  • Do my results show that I have an autoimmune thyroid disease?
  • What course of treatment is appropriate given my results?
  • Will I need to take a thyroid antibody test in the future? If so, how often?

If you are diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease, there are medications available to help manage your symptoms and maintain the health of your thyroid.

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Who Is At Risk For Hashimotos Thyroiditis

Things that may make it more likely to you for to get Hashimotos thyroiditis are:

  • Being a woman. Women are about 7 times more likely to have the disease. Hashimotoâs thyroiditis sometimes begins during pregnancy.
  • Middle age. Most cases happen between 40 to 60 years of age. But it has been seen in younger people.
  • Heredity. The disease tends to run in families. But no gene has been found that carries it.
  • Autoimmune diseases. These health problems raise a persons risk. Some examples are rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. Having this type of thyroiditis puts you at higher risk for other autoimmune illnesses.

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Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Receptor Antibodies

TSH initiates the production of T3 and T4 by binding to molecules on the thyroid gland called TSH receptors. TSH receptor antibodies imitate the action of TSH and, by targeting these receptors, can trigger hyperthyroidism.

TSHR-Abs are present in over 85% of people with Graves’ disease and less commonly with Hashimoto’s disease. As such, high levels of TSHR antibodies are strongly suggestive of Graves’ disease.

The TSHR-Ab test is also sometimes referred to as the thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin test.

What Does It Mean When You Test Positive For Thyroid Antibodies

Thyroid Antibody Test | Anti TPO Test | Thyroid Antibodies |

Thyroid antibodies in your blood suggest that your thyroid related symptoms are occuring due to an autoimmune disorder, such as Hashimotos disease or Graves disease.

Different types of thyroid antibodies and the autoimmune diseases caused by them are listed here:

  • Thyroid peroxidase antibodies : These antibodies can indicate:
  • Hashimotos disease, also called Hashimoto thyroiditis: It results in lack of thyroid hormones and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. When your thyroid doesnt make enough thyroid hormones, it is known as hypothyroidism..
  • Graves disease: This is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid makes too much of certain thyroid hormones, it is known as hyperthyroidism.
  • Thyroglobulin antibodies : These antibodies can also be an indicator of Hashimoto disease.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor: These antibodies can indicate Graves disease.
  • Most people with Hashimoto disease have high levels of both Tg and TPO antibodies. Need to book a thyroid antibody test? Explore Metropolis.thyroid test at home

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    What Does A Thyroid Antibody Test For

    A thyroid antibody test looks for antibodies against parts of your thyroid.

    Antibodies are special immune cells that patrol your body looking for harmful bacteria and viruses. When they find one, they bind to it and tag it so your immune system can clean it up.

    Sometimes, antibodies confuse your own cells for harmful intruders and tell your immune system to attack them. This causes an autoimmune reaction.

    It is important to check what type of antibody is present in someone with thyroid dysfuction. It can help doctors determine the appropriate treatment, says Dr. Mira.

    According to Dr. Mira, some patients may need hormone replacement while others may need to lower their hormone levels. There are three main types of thyroid antibodies that are tested:

    Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

    Thyroid peroxidase is an enzyme needed to make thyroid hormones. Most people with Hashimotos disease and Graves disease have high TPOAb levels.2

    The presence of TPOAb can cause symptoms of hyperthyroidism. These include hyperactivity, rapid heartbeat, anxiety and rapid weight loss, among others, Dr. Mira explains.

    Thyroglobulin Antibodies

    Thyroglobulin is a protein made by a healthy thyroid gland. It serves as the precursor for thyroid hormones. However, Dr. Mira says this protein can also be made by cancerous thyroid cells.

    Thyroglobulin antibodies are found in about 70% of people with Hashimotos disease. They are less common in those with Graves disease.2

    Thyrotropin receptor antibodies

    Key Points About Hashimotos Thyroiditis

    • Hashimotoâs thyroiditis can cause your thyroid to not make enough thyroid hormone.
    • It is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when your body makes antibodies that attack the cells in your thyroid.
    • Symptoms may include an enlarged thyroid gland , tiredness, weight gain, and muscle weakness.
    • You dont need treatment if your thyroid hormone levels are normal. If you have an underactive thyroid, medicine can help.

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    How Does The Thyroid Gland Function

    The major thyroid hormone secreted by the thyroid gland is thyroxine, also called T4 because it contains four iodine atoms. To exert its effects, T4 is converted to triiodothyronine by the removal of an iodine atom. This occurs mainly in the liver and in certain tissues where T3 acts, such as in the brain. The amount of T4 produced by the thyroid gland is controlled by another hormone, which is made in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain, called thyroid stimulating hormone . The amount of TSH that the pituitary sends into the bloodstream depends on the amount of T4 that the pituitary sees. If the pituitary sees very little T4, then it produces more TSH to tell the thyroid gland to produce more T4. Once the T4 in the bloodstream goes above a certain level, the pituitarys production of TSH is shut off. In fact, the thyroid and pituitary act in many ways like a heater and a thermostat. When the heater is off and it becomes cold, the thermostat reads the temperature and turns on the heater. When the heat rises to an appropriate level, the thermostat senses this and turns off the heater. Thus, the thyroid and the pituitary, like a heater and thermostat, turn on and off. This is illustrated in the figure below.

    How Common Is Goiter

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    Goiters are relatively common. They affect about 5% of people in the United States.

    The most common cause of goiters worldwide is iodine deficiency, which affects an estimated 2.2 billion people.

    The more severe the iodine deficiency, the more likely someone is to have goiter:

    • With mild iodine deficiency, the incidence of goiter is 5% to 20%.
    • With a moderate iodine deficiency, the prevalence increases to 20% to 30%.
    • With severe iodine deficiency, the incidence increases to greater than 30%.

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    What Thyroid Antibody Tests Are There

    There are several different kinds of thyroid antibody tests. The BTF lists some of them as follows:

    • Thyroid peroxidase antibody test. People with Hashimotos thyroiditis have higher levels of TPOAb, and some people with Graves disease also have raised TPOAb levels.
    • Thyroglobulin antibody test. A doctor may monitor Tg Ab levels in people who have had thyroid cancer. Some people with Hashimotos thyroiditis also have elevated Tg Ab levels.
    • Thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody test. People with Graves disease have higher levels of TSHR Ab.
    • Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin test. A person with Graves disease may have raised thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin levels.

    Doctors do not always use all these tests if they suspect that someone has a thyroid condition.

    Below are some of the most common questions and answers about thyroid antibodies:

    How Is The Tpo Antibodies Test Performed

    TPO antibodies test is, basically, a blood test. Your healthcare provider or a lab technician will take a sample of your blood in order to measure how many antibodies are in it.

    The blood sample is collected by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm. You might feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. The whole process lasts five minutes maximum. TPO antibodies test requires no special preparations.

    However, you should inform the doctor if you’re taking some medications, supplements, or herbs. Some drugs and supplements may impair the results.

    Based on the information you provide, the doctor will suggest whether you can continue taking the medication or supplement even on the day of the test or not.

    Follow the doctors recommendations religiously in order to get accurate results and precise diagnosis or insight into your condition.

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    Everything To Know About Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

      This article was written by a Medical Doctor and reviewed by the thyroid health experts at ThyroMate.

      ThyroMate articles uses only proven, accurate, credible sources in order to provide accurate, fact-checked information about thyroid health that is helpful and objective. All references are linked throughout the article and sources for each are cited at the end. Visit these links to learn more about the research studies and conclusions drawn from the research methods.

      Information contained on this website is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult your physician for questions related to your health.

    You have probably heard or come across the term thyroid peroxidase antibodies, but may not be quite sure what it means.

    Indeed, TPO antibodies are frequently mentioned in terms of thyroid health and diseases that affect it. Proper management of thyroid diseases and keeping the gland healthy require a thorough understanding of thyroid hormones, enzymes, tests, and other aspects that provide insight into the way the butterfly-shaped gland functions.

    Thats why in this article we are going to talk about TPO antibodies.

    Before we discuss TPO antibodies, it’s useful to give a brief introduction to thyroid peroxidase.

    Thyroid peroxidase is defined as a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of thyroid hormones. The enzyme catalyzes iodide oxidation, thyroglobulin iodination, and coupling of iodothyronine.

    What Imaging Tests Do Doctors Use To Diagnose And Find The Cause Of Thyroid Disease

    TPO and TGA Antibody Tests for Hashimoto’s Thyroid

    Your health care professional may order one or more imaging tests to diagnose and find the cause of thyroid disease. A trained technician usually does these tests in your doctors office, outpatient center, or hospital. A radiologist, a doctor who specializes in medical imaging, reviews the images and sends a report for your health care professional to discuss with you.

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    What Tests Do Doctors Use If I Have A Thyroid Nodule

    If your health care professional finds a nodule or lump in your neck during a physical exam or on thyroid imaging tests, you may have a fine needle aspiration biopsy to see if the lump is cancerous or noncancerous.

    For this test, you will lie on an exam table and slightly bend your neck backward. A technician will clean your neck with an antiseptic and may use medicine to numb the area. An endocrinologist who treats people with endocrine gland problems like thyroid disease, or a specially trained radiologist, will place a needle through the skin and use ultrasound to guide the needle to the nodule. Small samples of tissue from the nodule will be sent to a lab for testing. This procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes. Your health care professional will talk with you about the test result when it is available.

    How Does Each Thyroid Antibody Affect Your Body

    The presence of each antibody affects your thyroid gland in sightly different ways:

    Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies

    The presence of TPOAb is associated with Hashimotos disease.

    TPOAbs attack the healthy tissue of the thyroid gland and stop it from producing thyroid hormones. This is also known as having an underactive thyroid .

    Up to 95% of people with Hashimotos will have TPO antibodies in their blood, making them the most obvious sign that you might have or will develop Hashimotos.

    Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies

    Thyroglobulin antibodies are another type of antibody associated with thyroid disease.

    Like TPO antibodies, TgAb is also found in people with Hashimotos disease, but to a lesser extent.

    Thyroid receptor antibodies

    This group of antibodies target the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone receptors in the Thyroid gland. This can cause the gland to overproduce thyroid hormones, resulting in an overactive thyroid .

    Hyperthyroidism can lead to Graves disease, and the TRAb are the root cause.

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    Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies Test And Who Needs It

    Thyroid peroxidase antibodies test measures the level of an antibody that is directed against TPO.

    These antibodies are produced in the body by the immune system, as mentioned above.

    The TPO antibodies test serves multiple purposes, such as:

    • Helping doctors diagnose autoimmune thyroid disorders
    • Aiding in differentiating autoimmune thyroid disorders from non-autoimmune hypothyroidism or goiter
    • Serves as a diagnostic tool in deciding whether to treat a patient who has been diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism

    Doctors may also order a TPO antibodies test if you are pregnant and have an autoimmune disease, particularly the condition that involves thyroid.

    Thyroid peroxidase antibodies have been associated with reproductive difficulties such as miscarriage, preeclampsia, premature delivery, and in-vitro fertilization failure. In these instances, the doctor may also order TPOAbs test, but bear in mind its not a standard test for problems with fertility and pregnancy.

    If a pregnant woman has an autoimmune thyroid condition or some other autoimmune disease with thyroid involvement, the doctor may order TPO antibodies test in order to determine whether the baby could be at risk of thyroid dysfunction.

    Additionally, you might need a TPO antibodies test if other thyroid hormone levels are too low or too high. Your doctor will need results from TPO antibodies test to determine whether an autoimmune condition impaired the production and concentration of thyroid hormones.

    Why Arent Thyroid Antibodies The Initial Screening Test Used For Thyroid Disease


    You might wonder why TSH is still the standard screening test for thyroid disease given that thyroid antibodies can be elevated for decades before any change in TSH may even be seen.

    Thats a good observation and an even better question. Unfortunately, many traditional doctors ONLY test for antibodies after they see an elevation in TSH. Its backwards from what it needs to be. That is why you need to be your own advocate and insist on thyroid antibodies testing. You can discuss this testing with your physician or you can also self-test, as the tests are not overly expensive. Ill talk more about that below.

    At some point, the medical community will pick up on the importance of antibodies as an early warning for Hashimotos. I also believe labs will start to incorporate newer findings. For example, the reference range for TSH itself has already been redefined by the American College of Clinical Endocrinologists. The reference range was lowered , but most labs you get still use the old higher ranges as normal. That will hopefully change in the future.

    On top of the reference ranges changing, we also know that a person with Hashimotos may fluctuate between high and low TSH readings. Reference ranges are also only average values, so even if your TSH reads as normal, you may not be. Remember, I was told my thyroid was normal when my TSH was 5.5 IU/mL, and I was sleeping for 12 hours each night! TSH is not the screening tool we should be solely using.

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