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Dec 2023

What is thyroid antibody test and its purpose?

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Dec 13, 2023

Your immune system releases thyroid hormones, when it mistakenly attacks thyroid tissues and cells. This autoimmune response can cause damage to the body's tissues, chronic thyroid inflammation, and thyroid malfunction. Getting tested for thyroid antibodies help doctors detect autoimmune diseases.

What do thyroid antibodies do?

Your thyroid gland generates a number of essential hormones that have different purposes, including regulating body temperature, metabolism, and producing certain proteins. Our immune system has multiple functions, and its main function is to protect ourselves by destroying harmful bacteria or viruses.

However, with autoimmune disorder, the immune system can mistakenly attack the healthy cells. When the immune system reacts to potential treats, it begins to release certain biochemicals called antibodies. When the immune system mistakenly attacks thyroid cells, it can lead to thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid antibodies develop when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy thyroid cells, which can lead to thyroid dysfunction.

What is a thyroid antibody test?

A thyroid antibody test helps to detect the presence of different thyroid disorders. There are many types of thyroid antibodies. Different types of antibodies indicate the presence of different thyroid disorders. This test can help to detect the presence of:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: Hashimoto’s disease is one of the prime causes of developing hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. People with other autoimmune conditions are more likely to develop this disorder. Weight gain, fatigue, constipation, and dry skin are some of the early symptoms of hashimoto's disease. Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is the prime treatment for hashimotos’ thyroiditis.
  • Graves' disease: Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition that is considered one of the most common causes of developing hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid. Hair loss, tremors, tachycardia, atrial fibrillation are a few common symptoms of Graves’ disease. Generally, the treatment for Graves’ disease includes anti-thyroid drugs and radioactive iodine. In some cases, removal of certain or all parts of the thyroid gland might be required.

What does this test measures?

A thyroid antibody tests measure the levels of:

  • Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb): An increased level of thyroid peroxidase antibody may indicate the presence of Hashimoto’s disease. Some people with Graves’ disease also have a higher level thyroid peroxidase antibody.
  • Thyroglobulin antibody (Tg Ab): Doctors usually recommend testing for thyroglobulin antibody to check for thyroid cancer. Some people with Hashimoto’s disease may also have an increased thyroglobulin antibody level.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody (TSHR Ab/TRAb): People with Graves’ disease have higher levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone recep[tor antibody.
  • Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin: A higher level of thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin may indicate the presence of Graves’ disease.

What happens during a thyroid antibody test?

A medical professional will collect a blood sample from your hand for this test. Generally, fasting is not required for a thyroid antibody test. However, if you're on medication then talk with your doctor to know whether you need to stop your medication for this test.

Nearly, most test reports do include reference ranges of the tested levels. However, as reference ranges do vary from laboratory to laboratory, that is why it is ideal to consult with your doctor to understand what the test results mean for you.