Thyroid UK
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high TPO- what does it mean? Does it matter?

Dear all- I'm very confused following a blood test and I hope someone can help making sense of it.

As a background, I had 90% of my thyroid removed following hyperthyroidism that couldn't be controlled with medication, about 20 years ago. The explanation I was given for being hyper was stress as a child (!), and not having google back then, I just accepted it and moved on.

But this week I had a private thyroid test, and this time I requested the antibodies test just out of curiosity, assuming they'll come back normal. But TPO was 22.4 (range <6) which really surprised me.

What does this mean? could it be possible that I had Graves disease to start with (I don't believe they ever tested it)?

My nephew was diagnosed with Coeliac disease when he was a baby, my sister took a genetic test and came positive, so I know that there are autoimmune disease genes in the family, so on that basis it could make sense, I think?

Is this result just a bit high, or very high?

Does it matter that is high?

Any help will be greatly appreciated, I'm very confused and don't know how to take this

Thanks x

3 Replies


If you were hyperthyroid it is possible you had Graves. Graves doesn't go away so if you had Graves antibodies 20 years you still have them now although they are no longer making you hyperthyroid now that you've had a sub-total thyroidectomy.

TPO antibodies are often found alongside Graves antibodies. TPOab usually cause autoimmune hypothyroidism. It's immaterial how high the antibodies are because they fluctuate.


Thanks- that was a very interesting read

I suppose it's pointless worrying about whether I have antibodies or not, as the end result and treatment seem to be the same



There is no cure or treatment for autoimmune thyroid antibodies. Treatment is for the hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism they cause. Many people have found that 100% gluten-free diet is helpful in reducing Hashimoto's flares, symptoms and eventually antibodies but I don't know whether it is also helpful in reducing Graves antibodies.

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