What is the Thyroglobulin Antibody test?
→ A thyroglobulin antibody test looks for certain antibodies that attack the thyroid. The presence of thyroglobulin antibodies may indicate an autoimmune condition.
→ A thyroglobulin antibody test is used to determine if you have an underlying thyroid issue.
→ Your healthcare provider may decide to order a thyroglobulin antibody test (which can also be called an antithyroglobulin antibody test or thyroid antibody test) to evaluate the level of antibodies present in your bloodstream.
Thyroid antibodies are destructive to the thyroglobulin protein, so your healthcare provider may order a thyroglobulin antibody test to gain a clearer understanding of what could be causing you to feel unwell.
You may need a thyroid antibody test if you have symptoms of Hashimoto's disease or Graves' disease. But first, your provider will usually order blood tests to check your thyroid hormone levels to see if you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone tests include T3, T4, and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).
thyroid autoantibodies, thyroid peroxidase antibody, TPO, anti-TPO, antithyroid microsomal antibody, thyroid- stimulating immunoglobulin, TSI, TSH receptor antibody, Long-acting thyroid stimulator, LATS, TSH receptor-binding inhibitory immunoglobulin, Human thyroid stimulator
Symptoms that could indicate a possible underactive thyroid condition include:
→ Dry skin, hair, and nails
→ Weight gain
→ Digestive problems (especially constipation)
→ Constantly feeling cold
→ Menstrual irregularities
→ Decreased sweating
→ Forgetfulness or brain fog
→ Joint or muscle pain
Symptoms that may indicate an overactive thyroid include:
→ Fatigue (can be present when the thyroid is under or overactive)
→ Feeling weak
→ Unexplained weight loss
→ Feelings of anxiousness, anxiety, or irritability
→ Increased sweating
→ Heat intolerance
→ Rapid heart rate or changes in heart rhythm
→ Feeling shaky
The thyroglobulin antibody test may be ordered in conjunction with other thyroid blood tests, including:
→ Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
→ T4 hormone (also known as thyroxine)
→ T3 hormone (also known as triiodothyronine)
What is Thyroglobulin?
Thyroglobulin is a protein made by the thyroid gland. The thyroid uses it to make the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These both help control metabolism and growth.
What are Thyroglobulin Antibodies?
Thyroglobulin antibodies are antibodies made against thyroglobulin. Antibodies (also called immunoglobulins) are proteins the immune system makes to recognize and get rid of germs. Usually, the immune system doesn't make a lot of antibodies against thyroglobulin because it's not a germ.
In autoimmune disorders, the immune system attacks the body's healthy tissues as though they were foreign invaders, like germs. So the level of thyroglobulin antibodies in blood may rise in people with a thyroid-related autoimmune condition.
What is the Thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ at the base of the front of your neck. It creates essential hormones for the body to function correctly. Thyroid hormones play a role in your body’s metabolism, growth, and development. They produce energy, regulate body temperature, control weight, and more. To synthesize hormones, your thyroid produces several proteins such as thyroglobulin, the most abundant protein in the gland. Your body can utilize thyroglobulin to generate T4 and the active T3 form of thyroid hormones.
If you are having problems with your thyroid gland:
If you have a problem with your thyroid gland, such as in the case of an autoimmune disease, your thyroglobulin levels may fall outside the normal range. In autoimmune diseases, your body begins to attack its healthy tissues, causing inflammation and damage. When an autoimmune process occurs in the thyroid, thyroglobulin is often a likely target. The presence of anti-thyroglobulin antibodies is an indication that you have an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid.
What does an abnormal level of Thyroglobulin Antibodies indicate?
An abnormal test result may indicate that you have a higher risk for an autoimmune thyroid condition, such as:
→ Overactive thyroid or Grave’s disease
→ Hashimoto thyroiditis
→ Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism
→ Systemic lupus erythematosus
→ Type 1 diabetes
Monitoring Thyroglobulin antibodies in thyroid cancer patients:
Thyroglobulin antibodies are also useful in monitoring thyroid cancer patients after the removal of the thyroid gland. The presence of antibodies after a thyroidectomy may mean there's new thyroid tissue growing, and possibly a thyroid cancer recurrence. Antibodies to thyroglobulin may decrease with time after total thyroidectomy. They may also make it more challenging to monitor thyroglobulin levels as an indicator of thyroid cancer recurrence.
What do Thyroglobulin antibody results mean?
The reference range for the tests can differ from one lab to another.
However, if no antibodies are found in your blood, this is considered a negative and normal test result.
But if your test is positive, meaning antibodies were present in your blood, this could indicate there’s a problem with your thyroid glands such as:
→ Grave’s disease,
→ Hashimoto’s thyroiditis,
or another condition.
If antibodies attack your thyroid, they can cause serious thyroid autoimmune diseases:
Hashimoto's disease, also known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid doesn't make enough thyroid hormones to meet your body's needs. Thyroid hormones affect the way your body uses energy. So, without enough thyroid hormones, many of your body's functions slow down.
Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). With hyperthyroidism, your thyroid makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs. This causes many of your body's functions to speed up.
If your health care provider has diagnosed you with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, thyroid antibody tests can help find out if a thyroid autoimmune disease is causing the problem. There are different tests that check for different types of thyroid antibodies. Your provider will choose tests for you based on your symptoms, the results of other tests, and information about your medical history and family health history.
Symptoms of Hashimoto's disease include:
→ Weight gain
→ Hair loss
→ Low tolerance for cold temperatures
→ Irregular menstrual periods
→ Joint pain
Symptoms of Graves' disease include:
→ Weight loss
→ Bulging of the eyes
→ Tremors in the hand
→ Low tolerance for heat
→ Trouble sleeping
→ Increased heart rate
→ Swollen thyroid, known as goiter
Thyroglobulin Antibodies versus Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies:
A 2018 study notes that Thyroglobulin Antibody tests are less effective than tests checking thyroid peroxidase antibodies in predicting thyroid dysfunction. However, they noted that doctors might use the test to check for thyroid cancers.
Common thyroid issues:
Below are some common thyroid issues. Treating the conditions can help improve a person’s quality of life and help prevent additional health issues.
An underactive thyroid means the gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the body’s needs. Doctors often prescribe levothyroxine to replace the hormones that the thyroid typically produces.
An overactive thyroid produces too many thyroid hormones. This can speed up several different functions in the body. Treatment may include medications or surgical procedures. Treatment for hyperthyroidism varies based on a person’s age, other health conditions, surgeon access, and possible medication allergies.
Chronic thyroiditis is also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the thyroid. Treatments can vary, but most people with the condition will need levothyroxine medication for the rest of their lives.
Subacute thyroiditis is an inflammatory condition that affects the thyroid, causing pain and swelling. In some cases, a person may not need treatment. Others may need over-the-counter or prescription-strength pain medications to help with inflammation.
An abnormal test result may indicate that you have a higher risk for an autoimmune thyroid condition, such as:
Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. This condition also is called overactive thyroid. Hyperthyroidism speeds up the body's metabolism. That can cause many symptoms, such as weight loss, hand tremors, and rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Several treatments are available for hyperthyroidism. Anti-thyroid medicines and radioiodine can be used to slow the amount of hormones the thyroid gland makes. Sometimes, hyperthyroidism treatment includes surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland. In some cases, depending on what's causing it, hyperthyroidism may improve without medication or other treatment.
Hyperthyroidism sometimes looks like other health problems. That can make it hard to diagnose. It can cause many symptoms, including:
Older adults are more likely to have symptoms that are hard to notice. These symptoms may include an irregular heartbeat, weight loss, depression, and feeling weak or tired during ordinary activities.
Hyperthyroidism can be caused by several medical conditions that affect the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck. It has a big impact on the body. Every part of metabolism is controlled by hormones that the thyroid gland makes.
The thyroid gland produces two main hormones: thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3). These hormones affect every cell in the body. They support the rate at which the body uses fats and carbohydrates. They help control body temperature. They have an effect on heart rate. And they help control how much protein the body makes.
Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid gland puts too much of those thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. Conditions that can lead to hyperthyroidism include:
Thyroiditis is when your thyroid gland becomes irritated. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common type of this health problem. It is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when your body makes antibodies that attack the cells in your thyroid. The thyroid then can't make enough of the thyroid hormone. Many people with this problem have an underactive thyroid gland. That's also known as hypothyroidism. They have to take medicine to keep their thyroid hormone levels normal.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder. Normally, your autoimmune system protects your body by attacking bacteria and viruses. But with this disease, your immune system attacks your thyroid gland by mistake. Your thyroid then can't make enough thyroid hormone, so your body can't work as well.
Things that may make it more likely to you for to get Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are:
Being a woman. Women are about 7 times more likely to have the disease. Hashimoto's thyroiditis sometimes begins during pregnancy.
Middle age. Most cases happen between 40 to 60 years of age. But it has been seen in younger people.
Heredity. The disease tends to run in families. But no gene has been found that carries it.
Autoimmune diseases. These health problems raise a person’s risk. Some examples are rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. Having this type of thyroiditis puts you at higher risk for other autoimmune illnesses.
Hashimoto's disease progresses slowly over the years. You may not notice signs or symptoms of the disease. Eventually, the decline in thyroid hormone production can result in any of the following:
Not everyone with Hashimoto’s disease develops hypothyroidism. If you have high antibody levels but don’t have clinical hypothyroidism, your healthcare provider will likely monitor your thyroid levels instead of starting treatment.
If Hashimoto’s disease leads to hypothyroidism, the go-to treatment is a medication called levothyroxine. It’s a synthetic (manufactured) form of the hormone T4 that your thyroid makes. This medication helps restore the normal levels of thyroid hormone your body needs. You’ll need to take it every day for the rest of your life. Over time, you may need a different dose of the medication. Your provider will know how to adjust your dose to make sure that your hypothyroidism is well-managed.
Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism:
Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones to meet your body’s needs. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Thyroid hormones control the way your body uses energy, so they affect nearly every organ in your body, even the way your heart beats. Without enough thyroid hormones, many of your body’s functions slow down.
Women are much more likely than men to develop hypothyroidism. The disease is also more common among people older than age 60.
You are more likely to have hypothyroidism if you:
Your thyroid is also more likely to be underactive if you have other health problems, including:
Systemic lupus erythematosus:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is the most common type of lupus. SLE is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels.
Type 1 diabetes:
If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little insulin. Insulin helps blood sugar enter the cells in your body for use as energy. Without insulin, blood sugar can’t get into cells and builds up in the bloodstream. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and causes many of the symptoms and complications of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes was once called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes. It usually develops in children, teens, and young adults, but it can happen at any age. Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2—about 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1.
Additional note: Thyroglobulin antibodies are also useful in monitoring thyroid cancer patients after the removal of the thyroid gland. The presence of antibodies after a thyroidectomy may mean there's new thyroid tissue growing, and possibly a thyroid cancer recurrence. Antibodies to thyroglobulin may decrease with time after total thyroidectomy. They may also make it more challenging to monitor thyroglobulin levels as an indicator of thyroid cancer recurrence
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