Odd note: Poking around a couple of days ago, saw a study that was looking into how long antibodies were positive before diagnosis. They used women in the armed forces, because they have blood drawn routinely and stored under liquid nitrogen. Based on stored blood samples they were able run tests on 500 service women diagnosed with thyroid disease. They also ran tests on a control group of 2000 women.
60% for the group that was diagnosed with graves or hashimotos, TPO was elevated years before symptoms showed up. But the postive rate ofr the control groups was 5 to 8%.
Upshot is a positive TPO isn't diagnostic by itself.
TPO is an enzyme necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Are you referring to TPOab?
It's not uncommon for people to have either Graves or Hashi's for years and not know it because it can take a long time for the antibodies to destroy enough healthy thyroid tissue to affect production of hormones. Most people are only tested for thyroid disorders after symptoms show up.
You are right, TPOab. I thought it was interesting though that a large number of controls had elevated TPOab labs, far more than will ever develop thyroid disease. And a lot of those with abnormal labs, high or low were negative.
Elevated TPOab is, typically, a basis for a diagnosis of Hashimoto's, which IS a thyroid disease and can be present for many years without symptoms, though many/most people aren't ever tested for it until they have symptoms of the resulting hypothyroidism. Slightly elevated TPOab can also be present with Graves Disease, which is another thyroid disease, and there are those, that have both Hashi's and Graves. It may also be possible, though rare, for someone with Hashimoto's or Graves not to develop hypo or hyperthyroidism. If they aren't still following the study participants, they don't know how many of them with elevated TPOab went on to develop hypo or hyperthyroidism or how many will in the future.
"And a lot of those with abnormal labs, high or low were negative." Abnormal labs? Are you referring to abnormal TSH, FT3 or FT4? Negative for what? TPOab? That still wouldn't mean they don't have thyroid disease; they'd have to have TGab tested, as well, to rule out Hashimoto's and TSI tested in order to rule out Graves Disease. AND not all hypothyroidism/hyperthyroidism is caused by autoimmune disease, which means they wouldn't have antibodies.
Maybe if you could post a link to the study, I'd understand it better.
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