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AITDs affect up to 5% of the general population in western countries.2
Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease often cause the following symptoms:3,4
|Decreased concentration ability||Anxiety
||Rapid or irregular heartbeat
|Modest weight gain
||Weight loss, despite normal food intake
The vague symptoms of AITDs mean they often go undiagnosed. When left undiagnosed, patients are at an increased risk for certain serious conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and infertility.5
AITDs include a number of conditions in which thyroid dysfunction is caused by abnormal cellular or immune responses. AITDs include Graves' disease (GD) and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) which are the most common causes of thyroid gland dysfunctions. These conditions are characterized by reactivity to self-thyroid antigens which are expressed as distinctive inflammatory autoimmune disease.7 The results of laboratory testing, including those used to measure antibodies against Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO), Thyroglobulin (TG), and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Receptor (TSH-R), can allow clinicians to differentiate between the ambiguous symptoms of AITDs and get patients the treatment needed to avoid the consequences of these diseases.5
The presence of AITDs, especially Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, increases the risk for other autoimmune diseases including Type 1 diabetes mellitus and Addison’s disease.8
Serological testing can help diagnose an AITD and distinguish it from other forms of thyroid dysfunction. Classification criteria recommend laboratory testing for autoantibodies against:9
Measuring these antibodies is invaluable in a clinician’s ability to correctly identify an AITD. For example, anti-TPO antibodies can be detected in Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Testing can also help rule out AITDs. With over 98% of thyroiditis patients having autoantibodies to either or both TG and TPO antigens, a negative test can virtually exclude a diagnosis of thyroiditis.7