The thymus gland located at the top of the chest between the lungs. The gland is more active during childhood and, therefore, is the largest in terms of size in children. As a person ages, the size of the gland shrinks. This small gland plays a significant role in the production of lymphocytes, which are immune system cells that kill and destroy invading pathogens and foreign particles in the body. Therefore, any form of association with the thymus gland problem can adversely affect the immune system.
Some of the thymus gland disorders are highlighted below:
Sometimes, the gland may not be present at birth or may be less developed. This occurs because of DiGeorge syndrome, in which the person concerned has not the 22nd chromosome. It is important to note that when this chromosome is missing, all parties associated with it will have less developed or missing. Absence or have an under developed Thymus gland leads to a poor immune system and makes the person more prone to infections and diseases.
Another disturbance related to the thymus gland is severe combined immunodeficiency. This is a genetic disorder that results in weakness of the immune system. Basically, when a person has this genetic disease, the gland atrophy for lack of presence of cells of the immune system. When a person is diagnosed with this disorder, he or she must take antibiotics regularly to improve the functioning of the immune system.
Thymoma is the presence of tumor in the thymus gland. This tumor is benign, but unleashed havoc with the operation of the gland. This disorder is more common in people who have more than 40 years. Some people might not have any symptoms of thymoma, while others may complain of chest pain, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, wheezing and night sweats.
Thyme can also be affected by cancer. When a tumor develops in the gland, it can spread to adjacent tissues and can become life-threatening. So if the malignancy were detected in the thymus, they are surgically removed.
It has been observed that any trouble related to the thymus gland does not show any symptoms in the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms tend to appear. Some of the common symptoms related to gland disorders include weight loss, chest pain, fever, trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing and night sweats. Moreover, the person will also have lowered immunity, making him or her more susceptible to infections. The measure adopted treatment varies depending on the disorder.