The thyroid gland is a vital organ that controls the metabolism, growth, and development of your body. This butterfly-shaped gland is located on the front of your neck, at the base just below Adam’s apple. This gland produces two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), through which it regulates various body functions.
A matter of grave concern is that the statistics are showing a steady rise in thyroid diseases in the Indian population. At large, thyroid diseases include hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), goiter, thyroid cancer, and thyroid nodules. According to an epidemiological study on thyroid disease*, it is estimated that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases, and hypothyroidism happens to be the most common thyroid disease.
Your doctor may use various thyroid tests to check thyroid function that include TSH test, T4 test, T3 test, and thyroid antibody test. Usually, a thyroid panel suffices to check the functioning of your thyroid as it covers the TSH, T3 and T4 that collectively give insight into thyroid health.
What are thyroid antibodies?
Thyroid antibodies are proteins made by the lymphocytes in your thyroid gland. Lymphocytes are a type of immune cells that are part of the immune system and present in the lymphoid organs. Antibodies help your body fight germs like viruses and bacteria. However, sometimes antibodies may start to attack the body’s own cells, tissues, and organs mistakenly. This is called an autoimmune response.
When thyroid antibodies target and attack healthy thyroid cells, this leads to an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid. While some antibodies may destroy thyroid tissue and lead to low levels of thyroid hormones, others may cause the thyroid to make too much of them. A thyroid antibodies test helps detect thyroid antibodies:
What does it mean when you test positive for thyroid antibodies?
Thyroid antibodies in your blood suggest that your thyroid related symptoms are occuring due to an autoimmune disorder, such as Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease.
Different types of thyroid antibodies and the autoimmune diseases caused by them are listed here:
- Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO): These antibodies can indicate:
- Hashimoto’s disease, also called Hashimoto thyroiditis: It results in lack of thyroid hormones and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. When your thyroid doesn’t 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 (Tg): These antibodies can also be an indicator of Hashimoto disease.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor: These antibodies can indicate Grave’s 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
When should you get tested for thyroid antibodies?
Testing may be ordered if you have symptoms of a thyroid problem and your doctor doubts they may be caused by an autoimmune condition of thyroid (Hashimoto disease or Grave’s disease).
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease are:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Irregularity of periods
- Pain in the joints
- Low tolerance for cold temperatures
Symptoms of Grave’s disease include:
- Weight loss
- Bulging of the eyes
- Tremors in the hand
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Increased heart rate
- Swollen thyroid
- Low tolerance for heat
Have these symptoms and are still awaiting a correct diagnosis? Book your test with Metropolis and get accurate, timely, trustworthy testing, within the comfort of your home. Book thyroid antibodies test here.
What is the difference between hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease?
Hypothyroidism means there is some problem with your thyroid gland while Hashimoto’s disease is a problem with your immune system.
No test preparation is needed.
A thyroid antibody test needs a simple blood sample. No special test preparation is required to nsure the quality of the testing.
Do you need to repeat testing for thyroid antibodies?
Usually, repeat measurements of TPOAb and TgAb in adults is rarely required. Also, it may not usually influence the ongoing treatment. However, in children, repeat antibodies testing may be asked for when they move from child to adult care.
Can you prevent getting thyroid antibodies?
There are no lifestyle changes that can prevent or eliminate thyroid antibodies. Hence, make sure to discuss your symptoms with a doctor to be aware of the autoimmune condition to get started on their management side as soon as possible.
Because thyroid health is crucial!
Your symptoms are an important part of the diagnosis. Do not ignore testing since blood tests are currently the most accurate way to diagnose and manage thyroid disorders. If you have questions about your thyroid disorder, speak to your doctor. As advised, ensure to get your hormone levels checked on a regular basis and keep a check on your thyroid health.