The thymus gland is located in the top section of the chest, between the lungs. The gland is significantly more active during childhood and consequently, it’s larger in size in children. As an individual ages, the size of the gland reduces.
This small gland plays a substantial role in the production of lymphocytes, which are cells of the immune system that kill and destroy invading pathogens and foreign particles from the body. Hence, any difficulty association with the thymus gland can negatively affect the immune system. Occasionally, the gland can be absent at birth or it may be under developed.
This happens because of DiGeorge syndrome wherein the affected individual doesn’t have the twenty-second chromosome. It’s important to remember that if this chromosome is missing, all components associated with it will be under developed or missing. Absence or using an under developed thymus gland contributes to a poor immune system and makes the individual more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.
Another disorder about the thymus gland is Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. This is a genetic disorder, which leads to the weakness of the immune system. Basically, when someone has this genetic disease, the gland atrophies because of lack of existence of immune cells. When a man has been diagnosed with this disorder, he or she is must take antibiotics regularly to raise the functioning of the immune system.
Thymoma is the presence of tumor in the thymus gland. This tumor is benign, but it wreaks havoc with the performance of the gland. This illness is more prevalent in people who are over 40 years old. Some of the people may have no signs of thymoma, while some may complain of pain in the chest, fever, fatigue, breathing problems, wheezing and night sweats. The thymus may also be affected by cancer.
When a tumor develops from the gland, it may spread to the neighboring cells and may become life threatening. Hence, if cancerous tumors are found in the thymus, they are surgically removed. It’s been observed that any disease about the thymus gland doesn’t show any symptoms at the first stages. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms often appear. Some of the common symptoms associated with hormone ailments include loss of weight, pain in the chest, fever, problems while breathing, wheezing, cough and night sweats. Moreover, the individual will also have lowered immunity making him or her more susceptible to infections. The therapy measure adopted varies dependent on the disorder.