Thyroid Autoantibodies Tests

Thyroid autoantibodies are antibodies that develop when a person’s immune system wrongly targets components of the thyroid gland or thyroid proteins. This can lead to chronic inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis), tissue damage, and/or disruption of thyroid function. Laboratory tests detect the presence of specific thyroid autoantibodies and measure its quantity in the blood.


Interpretaions of the Tests

  • Negative test results means that thyroid autoantibodies are not present in the blood at the time of testing. And it may also indicate that the symptoms are due to a cause apart from autoimmune.
  • Mild to moderately elevated levels of thyroid antibodies may be found in many thyroid and autoimmune disorders, such as thyroid cancer, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, and autoimmune collagen vascular diseases.
  • Significantly increased concentrations most frequently indicate thyroid autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto thyroiditis and Graves disease.


Things Must Keep in Mind

  • A certain percentage of people who have autoimmune thyroid disease do not have autoantibodies. If it is suspected that the autoantibodies may develop over time, which is true with some autoimmune disorders, then repeat testing is recommended at a later date.
  • if these antibodies are present in a pregnant woman, the risk of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can increase in the developing baby or newborn.
  • If a person with thyroid cancer has thyroglobulin antibodies, they may interfere with tests for thyroglobulin levels. This may mean that the thyroglobulin test cannot be used as a tumor marker or to monitor the individual’s thyroid cancer.
  • A certain percentage of people who are healthy may be positive for one or more thyroid antibodies. The prevalence of these antibodies tends to be higher in women, tends to increase with age.
  • If an individual with no apparent thyroid dysfunction has a thyroid antibody, the healthcare provider will track the person’s health over time. While most may never experience thyroid dysfunction, a few may develop it.

Keywords: thyroid autoantibodies; immune system; autoimmune; thyroid cancer; thyroid dysfunction

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