Thyroid antibodies are a key component of thyroid health, and understanding their role in thyroid function is essential for maintaining overall health. If the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, it can lead to a range of health issues, which can also involve the thyroid’s antibodies. In this article, we will explore thyroid antibodies, their function, symptoms, and how they are tested.
What are thyroid antibodies?
Thyroid antibodies are proteins that are produced by the immune system that target the thyroid gland. Each antibody can be classified into different types based on what their target antigen is, which is the substance that triggers the immune response. The thyroid antibodies that are most common include:
- Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Antibodies
- Thyroglobulin (TG) Antibodies
- Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Receptor (TSHR) Antibodies
Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) antibodies are the most common form found in approximately 90% of people with an autoimmune thyroid disease. Whereas Thyroglobulin (TG) antibodies are less common, and are present in approximately 60% of individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: An autoimmune disease that cause inflammation, leading to an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) as it causes the thyroid to not make enough of the thyroid hormone.
- Grave’s Disease: Autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid gland to overproduced the thyroid hormone, leading to an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
Through interfering with the production and regulation of thyroid hormones, antibodies can impact thyroid function, this can result in either an increase or decrease in productions of thyroid hormones.
Can Thyroid Antibodies Cause Symptoms?
Though thyroid antibodies by themselves do not cause any symptoms, the underlying autoimmune thyroid disease that is developed can lead to a range of symptoms such as, fatigue, hair loss, and mood changes. Both Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Grave’s disease have separate symptoms.
- Weight Gain
- Dry Skin
- Hair Loss
- Sensitivity to Cold
- Weight Loss
- Muscle Weakness
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Increased Sweating
- Hand Tremors
What Are the Treatment Options?
While there is no cure for autoimmune thyroid disease, treatment options are available to manage symptoms and slow its progression.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Thyroid hormone replacement therapy can aid in restoring the normal function of the thyroid, and can alleviate symptoms.
Anti-Thyroid Medication: Typically medications are prescribed to those with hyperthyroidism to block the production of thyroid hormones.
Surgery: Some cases may require surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland.
Along with medical care, lifestyle changes such as management of stress, getting regular amounts of exercise, and consuming a healthy diet can support thyroid health, and reduce the severity of symptoms.
Thyroid antibodies fluctuate over periods of time, it is important that levels are regularly monitored, particularly if you have a history of autoimmune thyroid disease, or other thyroid disorders.
Bioma provides a range of thyroid tests, including a thyroid function test, and more below.