There are various thyroid antibodies, the commonest being anti-TPO antibodies. Anti-TPO stands for anti-Thyroid Peroxidase. TPO is an enzyme in the thyroid gland that is important for synthesizing thyroid hormones and is present in everyone. Due to various reasons, the body develops an immune response against this TPO. The antibody so generated is called anti-TPO antibody. The elevated level of this antibody shows that the body has an immune attack against the thyroid.

Anti-TPO antibody is very common, and around 17 % of people have them. People with anti-TPO antibodies have a high chance of developing thyroid disease if they don’t already have it. They also have a chance of progression of thyroid disease if they already have a mild thyroid disease. Although there are scientific data associating anti-TPO antibodies with various medical problems like recurrent abortions and heart disease, there is no convincing proof that antibodies are responsible for this. Therefore, there is no role in treating anti-TPO antibodies if thyroid functions are normal.

So, the anti-TPO antibody is only a marker of autoimmune thyroid disease and not a disease. So don’t panic over high levels, and don’t keep repeatedly doing it.