Thyroid Antibodies

This test is used to help diagnose and monitor autoimmune thyroid diseases and to distinguish these from other forms of thyroiditis. It also helps in treatment decisions. If you have an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) and/or if your other thyroid tests (such as T3, T4, and TSH) indicate thyroid dysfunction; along with a thyroglobulin test when your caregiver is using it as a monitoring tool; at intervals recommended by your doctor when you have a known autoimmune thyroid disorder.

These tests detect the presence and measure the quantity of specific thyroid autoantibodies. Antibodies develop when a person's immune system mistakenly recognizes part of the thyroid as foreign (not-self). This can lead to chronic thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid), tissue damage, and disruption of thyroid function.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that lies flat against the windpipe in the throat. The primary hormones that it produces (thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3)) are vital in helping to regulate the rate at which we use energy - our metabolism. The body has a feedback system that utilizes thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to help turn thyroid hormone production on and off and maintain a stable amount of the thyroid hormones in the bloodstream. When thyroid antibodies interfere with this process, it can lead to chronic conditions and disorders associated with hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormones) or hyperthyroidism (excessive amounts of thyroid hormones). Hypothyroidism can cause symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), dry skin, hair loss, intolerance to cold, and constipation. Hyperthyroidism can cause symptoms such as sweating, rapid heart rate, anxiety, tremors, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, sudden weight loss, and protruding eyes.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

NORMAL FINDINGS

Titer Less than 1:100

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.