How to get thyroid antibody tests done? please help

hi, I have been advised by a doctor I met (not my GP) to go and get my thyroid antibodies checked in addition to thyroid function. This as a result of him seeing me and chatting to discover that I have a family history of Hashimoto disease/syndrome (mother) and underactive thyroid (daughter, aunt, grandmother, cousins)

My GP will only test for thyroid levels and not antibodies. She is saying that if the levels are 'normal' then there is no way I could have any thyroid condition.

I am unable to lose weight no matter what I try, my skin is atrocious, I am constantly tired, my hair is thick and brittle (like a dead mouse clinging to the edge!), my cholesterol levels were apparently up when I was last tested (not told that till yesterday) and if I go through the list of symptoms it does appear a 'no brainer'.

I have previously broken my neck so I have had neck surgery and have an internal cage around C5/C6 and C7 (surgery August 2010); I had a fall so have a trauma induced brain injury. I suffer from bowel problems and chest and lung problems (bronchiectasis) and Gastro-oesophageal reflux.

I had thyroid function tests a while ago (pre 2010) and they were 'normal' but I was unaware of antibodies then.

Can anyone please tell me if I should insist on asking for antibody tests and also where to find any UK guidance on this?.

Thank you in anticipation of someone steering me in a useful direction.

5 Replies

  • There are a few of us on here that cannot get our GP's to do antibody tests even though we have thyroid conditions - my GP told me that ALL thyroid conditions were down to Hash's (not true) so there was no point in testing. It has only been recently that I had this done due to seeing an endo, which turned out to be positive, but if it was down to my GP I still wouldn't know.

    Here is a link from the main thyroiduk website regarding private testing - if you can afford it.

    Don't know how you can convince your GP to do the test but maybe if you insist and tell her that you are acting on advise from another doctor she might take notice.

    Good luck with it.

    Moggie x

  • I managed to get my antibody test by asking my nurse when I was booked in for a blood test, I think she only did it because she is hypo herself, the doctor hadn't agreed to it. It's worth a try? I've since moved and my new nurse is a pain in the.....

    Best of luck with it :o)

  • I had my antibodes tested about 2 years ago during some MOT blood tests as I had collapsed and an abulance was called (not sure it would have been done otherwise as although in reflection I had many symptoms at the time I was even unaware of what an underactive thyroid was and wasnt actively going to the doctors to look for answers) and they came back 260 when normal range was max 60, I didnt know this at the time, just accepted the results were normal as this is what I was told (normal?!!!).

    3 months ago I asked for a thyroid test as my dad had been diagnosed hypo along with my aunt and I had started looking into it as my symptoms got worse, they only tested TSH despite my antibodies previously being high. A few weeks ago I had my 3 monthly re-test as was put on levo in Jan and when I asked the nurse taking my blood if I was having antobodies she said no, I can only re-test the last one/what doctor has requested (ie TSH only). I explained that they had been high before and she said I will write it on the request and it will depend what mood the lab are in on the day!

    Anyway with luck they did test and they came back 1,300 in normal range max 60!

    Not much help to your question I know but wanted to highlight how hard it can be to just get a simple test done (unfortunately!)

  • ......take your annual holiday abroad and pop into a Haematology Clinic - no appointment required - and have them tested with anything else you deem important. I live in Crete - and yes it's private - but affordable.....professional and efficient. You pay when you collect the results two days later which are beautifully printed out for you to keep. They also keep a record. In my case and the case of so many I have been involved with is that often there are anti-bodies but within range FT4 and FT3 and of course the dreaded TSH. My husband had high anti-bodies but all the other results were in range. Just today I have helped someone here from the UK who was most impressed with the service.

    Knowing you have anti-bodies or not is important in my book - it enables you to look at things differently. That is - if you have an auto-immune condition affecting your thyroid and it may require a slightly different approach than straightforward thyroid illness. For example dealing with underlying conditions in ones health - like gut health.

    Telling your GP about all the family connections should be enough to convince them to test....or change your GP within the Practice. Can you obtain copies of your last Thyroid tests and their ranges ? Post on here and someone will help. Ask your GP what does she mean by normal - ummm ? - and if it's not your thyroid then what is causing all your problems. What is normal for one person is not normal for another.

    Maybe look at the Tags on this forum for Hashimotos/Auto-immune Thyroiditis and you may pick up some useful hints as to how to approach things.

    I do wish you luck and keep posting............

  • Oh I forgot to add my first TSH reading with 260 antibody level was 5.6 and my second with 1,300 antibody level was 2.9 so in both cases 'normal' accoridng to those doctors who like to go by numbers! So absolutely you can have a 'normal' reading but high antibodies. I was told they will treat it the same as any other hypo (ie just manage my TSH with levo) as they can't do anything to reduce the antibodies and it is likely they will keep rising but it is nice to know what is causing your hypo if it is antibodies or not. For me knowing if an autoimmune problem was causing it was a big thing for me as my sister has an autoimmune disease where her antibodies are attacking/failing her kidneys so I would much rather know and keep tabs on things.

    Hope you get some answers soon!

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