Why Do I Need a Thyroid Antibody Test?
Over 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. The thyroid gland can produce too much hormone, hyperthyroidism, or too little hormone, hypothyroidism. To help diagnose an autoimmune thyroid disease, a thyroid antibody test is ordered. This tests helps diagnose thyroid dysfunction and determine causes of goiter or other reasons for low or high thyroid hormone levels. The thyroid antibody test is usually ordered along with the thyroid panel.
Typically, when the test results indicate the presence of thyroid antibodies there is an autoimmune thyroid issue. Furthermore, the higher the level, the more likely that there is an autoimmune thyroid issue. Testing over time helps establish a baseline since increasing levels autoimmune activity is more significant than stable levels. Lastly, if antibodies are present in a pregnant woman there is an increase risk to the fetus and newborn to develop hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. The Thyroid antibody test is a simple and inexpensive blood test.
What are the Diseases Typically Associated with Thyroid Antibodies?
Thyroid and autoimmune disorders, such as thyroid cancer, Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, etc., are likely to have mild to moderately elevated thyroid antibodies. High concentrations of thyroid antibodies are frequently indicated in thyroid autoimmune diseases such as as Hashimoto and Graves diseases.
Negative test results means that the autoantibodies are not present in the blood at the time of testing. This does not indicate that you do not have an autoimmune disease, so repeat testing may be done at a later date to see if antibodies develop. There’s a small percentage of people who have autoimmune thyroid disease but do not have autoantibodies.
Conversely, a certain percentage of people who are healthy may be positive for one or more thyroid antibodies. The risk of developing thyroid disease may increase with time so a doctor may track and test to ensure thyroid disease can be diagnosed and treated early.