What Are Thyroglobulin Antibodies
One of the primary ways the immune system protects the body is by producing antibodies. When a foreign invader is in the body, like bacteria, toxins, or viruses, the immune system sends out antibodies to fight it. This response is a sign of a healthy immune system.
Sometimes, the immune system goes rogue and creates antibodies that attack the healthy tissues in your body. Antibodies made to fight your own organs are a sign of autoimmune disease.
Thyroglobulin antibodies are cells made by the immune system to attack thyroglobulin in the thyroid gland. Thyroglobulin is a protein that is created and stored in the thyroid gland to help make thyroid hormones.
When Abnormal Thyroid Function Tests Are Not Due To Thyroid Disease
While blood tests to measure thyroid hormones and thyroid stimulating hormone are widely available, it is important to remember that no all tests are useful in all circumstances and many factors including medications, supplements, and non-thyroid medical conditions can affect thyroid test results. An endocrinologist can help you make sense of thyroid test results when there is a discrepancy between your results and how you feel. A good first step is often to repeat the test and ensure there are no medications that might interfere with the test results. Below are some common reasons for mismatch between thyroid tests and thyroid disease.
Non-thyroidal illness Significant illness, such as an infection, cancer, heart failure, or kidney disease, or recent recovery from an illness can cause changes transient changes in the TSH. Fasting or starvation can also cause a low TSH. An endocrinologist can help to interpret changes in thyroid function tests in these circumstances to distinguish non-thyroid illness from true thyroid dysfunction.
Test interference Biotin, a common supplement for hair and nail growth, interferes with many thyroid function tests and can lead to inaccurate results. Endocrinologists recommend stopping biotin supplements for 3 days before having a blood test for thyroid function.
What Does A Low Tsh Level Mean
A TSH level below 0.5 mIU/L can mean that your thyroid gland is overactive. This is hyperthyroidism, which can cause such symptoms as , heat intolerance, increased appetite, and bulging eyes.
One of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder in which your bodys immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. also can be caused by or taking certain medications.
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Normal Thyroid Lab Tests But Still Have Hypothyroid Symptoms
This idea of optimal thyroid lab tests extends beyond just anti-TPO levels.
Unless you evaluate your thyroid lab tests entirely and with the optimal levels in mind, you will end up undertreated and may remain symptomatic.
Part of this problem is due to the reliance upon the TSH as the de-facto lab test to determine thyroid function.
The current treatment paradigm can be summed up in basically one sentence:
Give Levothyroxine or Synthroid to the patient and monitor the TSH to normal levels.
It turns out that thyroid hormone management is not quite that simple and several studies have shown that treating based on the TSH ultimately leads to low levels of T3, reduced quality of life and weight gain due to a slower metabolism .
When you look at all the data out there and our current treatment paradigm its easy to see why many hypothyroid patients go under-treated and misdiagnosed.
Because of these reasons, its very important to have a basic understanding of what defines optimal thyroid lab tests and use these values to determine the need for further management .
Complete thyroid lab panel + optimal ranges:
Part of the problem with diagnosing hypothyroidism is due to the bodys amazing ability to preserve serum thyroid levels under situations of extreme stress.
In addition, when it comes to hormones and serum levels, very small changes in blood levels can mean drastic changes in terms of function which results in symptoms in patients.
Connection To Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody
Thyroid peroxidase antibody is very similar to TgAb: it is also an antibody that mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. While TgAb targets thyroglobulin, TPOAb targets an important thyroid enzyme called thyroid peroxidase. TPOAb can increase oxidative stress and may damage the thyroid .
The TBOAb test is also sometimes called the Antithyroid Microsomal Antibody Test .
The same conditions that cause TgAb to increase usually also raise TPOAb. In fact, TPOAb may be a better indicator of autoimmune thyroid disorders than TgAb .
About 90-95% of people with autoimmune thyroid disorders have detectable TPO antibodies, while only 70-80% of them have detectable thyroglobulin antibodies. Therefore, your test results may come back as normal TgAb and detectable TPOAb even if you have autoimmune thyroid issues .
TPOAb assays vary in sensitivity. Older assays may not detect TPO antibody levels more sensitive assays would. If your TPOAb came back normal and your TgAb high, you should probably repeat the TPO test with a more sensitive assay .
People without thyroid problems may also test positive for TPOAb. According to some estimates, about 10 to 15% of the general population produce TPOAb .
Another big difference between these two types of antibodies is that TPOAb does not interfere with thyroglobulin tests like TgAb does. This means a TPOAb test would not be helpful for determining thyroglobulin levels .
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What Causes Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism has several causes. They include
- Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks your thyroid and causes it to make too much hormone. This is the most common cause.
- Thyroid nodules, which are growths on your thyroid. They are usually benign . But they may become overactive and make too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid nodules are more common in older adults.
- Thyroiditis, inflammation of the thyroid. It causes stored thyroid hormone to leak out of your thyroid gland.
- Too much iodine. Iodine is found in some medicines, cough syrups, seaweed and seaweed-based supplements. Taking too much of them can cause your thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone.
- Too much thyroid medicine. This can happen if people who take thyroid hormone medicine for hypothyroidism take too much of it.
To Treat Or Not To Treat
Aging WellVol. 5 No. 6 P. 6
Physicians are accustomed to checking thyroid-stimulating hormone in older adults with symptoms of an over- or underactive thyroid, as its a fairly accurate and routine measure of thyroid function. But a new study suggests that for many patients, treatment for mild TSH elevations may no longer be warranted.
As increasing numbers of people live into their 80s and 90s, it is important to know how to manage their health, including thyroid function, says Anne Cappola, MD, ScM, an associate professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and lead study author. We sought to describe what happens to thyroid function in older people over time and to determine the relationship between thyroid function and mortality in this population.
The study, accepted for publication in The Endocrine Societys Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, questions the assertion that slightly elevated TSH levels are linked to an increase in mortality and suggests that such elevations may actually be a normal part of healthful aging.
Study Particulars The study first examined 5,888 men and women aged 65 and older between 1989 and 1992. Then in 2005, researchers reexamined 843 surviving participants thyroid function for any changes in physical and cognitive function. Study participants ranged in age from 77 to 102, with a mean age of 85.
Juliann Schaeffer is an associate editor at Great Valley Publishing Company.
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Is There Anything Else I Should Know
The sensitivity and specificity of thyroid antibody testing is improving but is still not as good as health practitioners would like it to be. All of the thyroid antibody tests have changed over time. This is part of the reason that the tests have historically acquired many different names. There are also many distinct methodologies and each has different reference ranges. If someone is having several tests done at regular intervals for monitoring purposes, it is best to have test done by the same laboratory each time, using the same methodology.
How To Measure Tsh Levels
The TSH test involves a healthcare professional drawing blood from a vein in the inner arm. They then send the blood sample to a laboratory for testing.
Usually, people do not need to prepare for a TSH test. However, if the doctor is testing the blood for more than one issue, a person may need to fast or prepare in another way. The doctor will provide this information beforehand.
If a person has abnormally high or low TSH levels, the doctor needs to run at least one other diagnostic test to identify the underlying cause. These tests look at levels of specific thyroid hormones and antibodies.
Symptoms Of Hashimotos Thyroiditis
At the very beginning, patients may not notice any particular symptom. This autoimmune condition tends to progress slowly over the years and causes thyroid damage and a decline in hormone production.
In fact, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, which is why signs and symptoms of this autoimmune disease are similar to the underactive thyroid. Some of them include:
- Thick and red skin usually on top of feet or shins
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What is the cause of my underactive thyroid ?
- Do I have Hashimoto’s disease?
- What do the results of my blood test mean?
- How long will I need medicine for my hypothyroidism and what are the side effects?
- What TSH level will you use as a target for me?
- After I’m in the optimal range, how often do you suggest I come back for blood tests to make sure my dosage needs haven’t changed?
- Am I at risk for related health problems?
- How quickly can I expect relief from my hypothyroid symptoms?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to relieve my symptoms?
Once you have the answers to these questions, your doctor will have a better understanding of your concerns and needs, and can take all the information into consideration in formulating a thyroid management plan in discussion with you.
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What Your Thyroglobulin Antibodies Results Mean
Thyroglobulin is a protein that is made by the cells of the thyroid gland. Thyroglobulin antibodies are proteins that are made by the immune system during an autoimmune attack from the body directed at the thyroid gland.
What does the presence of thyroglobulin antibodies mean?The presence of thyroglobulin antibodies in the blood may suggest that the cause of your thyroid disorder is autoimmune in nature.
If youre reading this article, you probably want to understand what your thyroid results mean. If you havent, maybe youre considering taking a thyroid test.
With LetsGetChecked, you can take a thyroid test from the comfort of home with online results available in just one week. Order today and receive complimentary clinical support as part of the service.
What Do The Results Of Tpo Antibodies Test Mean
The TPO antibodies test results may show one of the following options:
- Negative as you can already conclude negative TPO antibodies test result indicates that no thyroid antibodies were found. This result also implies that thyroid problems and symptoms a patient experiences are not caused by an autoimmune condition
- Positive antibodies to TPO and/or Tg this result indicate a patient may have Hashimotos thyroiditis
- Positive antibodies to TPO and/or TSH may indicate the presence of Graves disease
The higher the level of antibodies, the more likely it is that a patient has an autoimmune disease of the thyroid e.g., Hashimotos or Graves disease. Blood test results for TPO antibodies are positive in 95% of patients with Hashimotos thyroiditis and in 50% to 80% of people with Graves disease.
When it comes to TPOAbs, the reference value is < 9.0 IU/ml . Values above 9.0 are typically associated with autoimmune thyroid disease, but elevations are also observed in some other autoimmune conditions. The most commonly mentioned TPOAb reference range is less than 35 IU/ml.
The presence of TPOAbs in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism predicts an elevated risk of overt hypothyroidism. Moreover, this also shows that those patients could be at a higher risk of developing other autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes.
As mentioned above in the article, some people may be positive to TPO antibodies, but they do not have a thyroid condition.
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Other Thyroid Lab Patterns Which May Result In Hypothyroid Symptoms
Are your lab tests slightly different than what we discussed here?
I’ve included a list of various other lab tests below and how they may present in terms of your symptoms:
- High TSH, normal T4, normal T3 = This is the pattern we’ve been discussing in this post and will usually present with hypothyroid symptoms.
- High TSH, normal T4, low T3 = This pattern may be an indication that you are having issues with thyroid conversion and most often presents with hypothyroid symptoms.
- Normal TSH, low T4, low T3 = This pattern is usually what is seen in those with chronic illness and in those who are taking multiple medications. If you have this pattern you will most likely be symptomatic.
- Normal TSH, normal T4, low T3 = This pattern may be consistent with low T3 syndrome or euthyroid sick syndrome and may present with hypothyroid symptoms but not always.
- Normal TSH, normal T4, normal T3, positive thyroid antibodies = This is a classic presentation for early Hashimoto’s and most patients with this pattern will be symptomatic. If you are symptomatic this is a valid reason to consider a trial of thyroid medication even though your lab tests are “normal”.
- Normal TSH, normal T4, normal T3, high reverse T3 = This pattern is most often seen immediately after calorie restriction or after dieting and weight loss. This pattern usually indicates an adaptive response from your body and one that shows your metabolism will be slowing over the next few months .
Is It Possible To Reduce Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies If They Are Elevated
And this might just be the most important part of this article.
After all, if you know that TPO antibodies are causing problems in your body, doesnt it make sense to try and do something about them?
But heres the problem:
From the perspective of your doctor, theres nothing that can be done about elevated thyroid peroxidase antibodies.
Doctors take what is called the sit and wait approach to managing people who have elevated thyroid antibodies.
They sit and wait until your own body damages the thyroid gland to the point that you need prescription medication.
Just because your doctor doesnt have any medical treatment options for you doesnt mean you cant do anything, though!
Seeing a doctor is important, for sure, but when it comes to managing your thyroid antibodies you are probably going to be on your own.
It may sound difficult but it actually isnt.
Making some changes to your lifestyle can have an impact on your immune system and thyroid health and this may directly help your antibodies.
Doing things like changing the food that you eat can have a huge impact on your antibody levels.
Avoiding foods that are known to be inflammatory is a great place to start.
Eating foods that are known to possess natural anti-oxidants and plant-based nutrients is also a wise decision.
You can also focus on improving your lifestyle.
And guess what?
You dont really need a doctor to tell you that eating fruits and vegetables is a good thing, right?
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The Easiest Way To Test Your Thyroid
If your doctor doesnt know about, refuses to check your thyroid or thyroid antibodies levels or doesnt order any other tests besides standard thyroid tests like TSH or TSH plus total T4, the easiest way to have your blood work done and get the answers is to order your Thyroid Home Test Kit online from a private lab.
The best part is you dont need doctors referral or medical insurance and dont even need to go to the lab . The thyroid test kit will be mailed to you and you mail it back to the lab and access your test results right after they are ready.
All lab tests are easy to order, have FREE shipping , with results sent directly to you within days. All from the safety of your home.
What Is A T3 Test
T3 TestsT3 tests measure triiodothyronine levels in the blood. A Total T3 test measures the bound and free fractions of triiodothyronine. Hyperthyroid patients typically have an elevated Total T3 level. T3 tests can be used to support a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and can determine the severity hyperthyroidism.
In some thyroid diseases, the proportions of T3 and T4 in the blood change and can provide diagnostic information. A pattern of increased T3 vs T4 is characteristic of Graves disease. On the other hand, medications like steroids and amiodarone, and severe illness can decrease the amount of thyroid hormone the body converts from T4 to T3 resulting in a lower proportion of T3.
T3 levels fall late in the course of hypothyroidism and therefore are not routinely used to evaluate patients with underactive or surgically absent thyroid glands.
Measurement of Free T3 is possible, but is often not reliable and therefore may not be helpful.
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What Your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Results Mean
Thyroid stimulating hormone, which is also known as TSH is a pituitary hormone that is produced and released by the pituitary gland in response to fluctuating levels of thyroxine and triiodothyronine in the blood.
Thyroid stimulating hormone plays a significant role in regulating metabolism, the bodys basal temperature, energy levels, mood and muscle strength.
If thyroid hormone levels are low, the pituitary gland is stimulated to produce more thyroid stimulating hormone. If thyroid hormones are normal or high, the pituitary gland will cease in producing thyroid hormones.
What does high thyroid stimulating hormone mean?If your results show that you have a high concentration of circulating thyroid stimulating hormone, it may indicate that the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroxine. This condition is called hypothyroidism.
What does low thyroid stimulating hormone mean?If your results show that you have low or normal concentrations of circulating thyroid stimulating hormone, and low concentrations of thyroxine, this may indicate a type of hypothyroidism called central hypothyroidism. Conversely low concentrations of TSH and elevated concentrations of thyroxine or triiodothyronine can indicate hyperthyroidism.