Thyroglobulin Antibodies Test measures the levels of antibodies to thyroglobulin in the blood. Antibodies are proteins produced by our immune system in our body. The antibodies that are made against thyroglobulin proteins in the thyroid gland are called thyroglobulin antibodies (TGAb).
What is Thyroglobulin?
Thyroglobulin (Tg) is a protein produced by the cells of the thyroid gland. This protein is the main source of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). They help to control the rate at which energy is used in almost every tissue in the body. Individuals with a healthy immune system do not generally produce thyroglobulin antibodies. Therefore individuals with thyroid-related autoimmune conditions may have increased thyroglobulin antibody levels in their blood.
Why this test is performed?
This test is one amongst many tests that may be helpful to diagnose thyroid-related autoimmune conditions. The thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system. It produces and releases the thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland regulate various functions in the body including heart function, digestive function, bone maintenance, brain development, muscle control, metabolism (the rate at which the body uses energy), etc.
This test is also performed to distinguish different forms of thyroid diseases or if you experience symptoms of thyroid diseases including goiter (an enlarged thyroid) or thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid) such as fatigue, unexplained weight gain, constipation or dry skin etc. Your doctor may advise performing this test if your other thyroid tests such as T3, T4, or Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) shows abnormal test results. This test may also be recommended by your doctor along with a thyroglobulin test as a part of monitoring in individuals receiving treatment for thyroid cancer.
If you are suffering from a thyroid disorder and receiving treatment for the same, your doctor may advise you to undergo this test as part of routine monitoring as well as to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
If you are an otherwise healthy individual and the test results are in the normal range, then the thyroid gland is functioning normally and there is no need for medical intervention. If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and the test results are in the normal range, then the treatment you are receiving is working effectively.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Thyroglobulin Antibodies. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Thyroglobulin Antibodies.
No specific preparation is necessary for this test. However, if it is performed along with other blood tests, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours, as instructed by the doctor.
The negative test results show the absence of thyroglobulin antibodies in the blood. However, few individuals with autoimmune thyroid disorders may not show the presence of thyroglobulin antibodies in their blood. In such individuals, if the doctor suspects that the thyroglobulin antibodies may develop over time, this test may be repeated later.
Mild to moderate increase in thyroglobulin antibodies may indicate thyroid and autoimmune disorders, such as thyroid cancer, pernicious anemia (less number of red blood cells due to a vitamin B12 deficiency), Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (a condition of pain and swelling in the joints), and other autoimmune collagen vascular diseases (condition associated with defects in collagen, a component of the connective tissue).
The presence of thyroglobulin antibodies in the pregnant women may increase the risk of hyperactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism) thyroid in developing baby or newborn.
Abnormally high levels of thyroglobulin antibodies in the blood may indicate thyroid autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto Thyroiditis (a condition where the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed) and Graves disease (a disorder where the thyroid gland overproduces thyroid hormones). However, in individuals with high levels of thyroglobulin antibodies, your doctor may recommend a few more additional thyroid antibodies tests to confirm the presence of autoimmune thyroid disorders.
The presence of thyroglobulin antibodies in individuals with thyroid cancer may interfere with the results of the thyroglobulin test. In such individuals, the thyroglobulin test cannot be used as a tumor marker or to monitor the existing condition. Your doctor may advise performing other tests in such individuals to monitor the thyroid cancer.
If you have abnormal thyroglobulin antibodies in the blood consult your doctor for further instructions. Based on the test results, your doctor may advise appropriate medical treatments or further diagnostic tests.
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