Anti-Thyroid Antibodies Test
Autoimmune thyroid disease can lead to a dysfunctional thyroid gland and can go unnoticed under the symptoms of thyroiditis. So to differentiate the two conditions and help doctors take better treatment decisions, anti-thyroid antibody tests are done. As commonly known, antibodies secreted by immune system kill any foreign substances present in the blood or body fluids.
The anti-thyroid antibody tests are done on the blood sample of the patient. The thyroid antibodies are generated when the immune system fails to recognise the thyroid gland tissues as self and treats them as foreign elements. The autoantibodies secreted attack the thyroid gland eliciting the inflammatory response (thyroiditis) by damaging the thyroid tissues and causing malfunctioning of thyroid.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland present in the throat behind the wind pipe and plays a vital role in controlling the metabolism rate of the body. The thyroid hormone is stimulated by the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) for secretion. The thyroid gland secretes triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones that manage the metabolism of the body.
The anti-thyroid antibodies interrupt the stimulation of the thyroid gland itself, which can result either in hypothyroidism meaning under-secretion or hyperthyroidism meaning excessive secretion. The anti-thyroid antibody test measures the level of thyroid antibodies in the blood.
Testing Anti-Thyroid Antibodies
The thyroglobulin and thyroid peroxidase are known to be the two most common antibodies causing thyroid problems. In anti-thyroid antibody test, the level of these two antibodies is measured in the blood sample of the patient.
High levels of anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody in a person signify that the person is suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis syndrome or Grave’s Disease. It is usually confirmed when a doctor orders anti-thyroid antibody tests after spotting hypothyroidism symptoms.
If a person tests positive for high quantities of anti-thyroglobulin antibody, it means person is either suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Thyroid cancer.
If your doctor diagnoses you with hyperthyroidism and orders anti-thyroid antibody test to check for high levels of thyroid stimulating hormone receptor antibody, chances are it is Grave’s disease if your results are positive.
Generally doctors ask patients to undergo anti-thyroid antibody tests when a patient suffering from an autoimmune disease shows symptoms of thyroid malfunctioning. In case of pregnant women with known auto-immune diseases, doctors order anti-thyroid antibody tests early during the pregnancy to establish any suspected thyroid involvement and any potential harm to the baby.