In DiGeorge syndrome, the person lacks 22nd chromosome, which may lead to underdeveloped or no thymus gland. This is one among the various thymus gland disorders. Find out more about the disorders, causes and treatments of the same in the following article.
Thymus is one of the smallest organs of the body. It is located near the upper breast bone in between the lungs. It is pinkish gray in color and has two irregularly sized parts. It is found in a larger size in children and decreases in size as the age increases.
This small organ plays a very important role in the production of T-cells or the lymphocytes which are the part of the white blood cells. These cells are involved in the defense mechanism or the immune system of the body. The thymus gland starts working in the children as soon as they appear in the womb. Hence, any type of thymus gland disorder may led to the improper functioning of the immune system which may be life-threatening.
Disorders of Thymus Gland
Thymus disorders have a major impact on the children as thymus glands have a more important role to play in children than in adults. Following are some of the disorders that can affect people.
Underdeveloped or Absent Thymus Gland
Underdeveloped or absent thymus gland may be a result of the DiGeorge syndrome. This is a defect in which the person lacks 22nd chromosome. As this chromosome is very helpful in the proper development of some parts of the body, all those parts show a lack of development. Thymus is one among those parts. Hence, the people who suffer from this disorder have a very small or no thymus. This results in a poor immune system.
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency is a genetic disease which may result in a weak immune system. This results in atrophied thymus because of the lack of immune cells. The major role of the thymus is to help the immature immune cells to mature and work efficiently. Hence, this immunodeficiency disease may hamper the functioning of thymus gland. In this disease, the person may require to take regular antibiotics dosage in order to boost the immune system.
A thymoma is a tumor in the thymus. These are non cancerous, but may hamper the functioning of the thymus gland. This is mostly observed in the people above the age of 40 to 60. Some people may not show any symptom of thymoma but in some, the symptoms may be fever, chest pain, fatigue, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, night sweats, etc.
Thymic carcinomas are the cancerous or malignant tumors. The cancer cells grow very rapidly and attack the healthy tissues. They can be very dangerous as they can even invade and attack the nearby tissues and start harming them. These tumors are usually removed with the help of surgeries.
Symptoms and Treatments
The symptoms of thymus gland disorders usually does not show up in the initial stage. This is the reason that the condition usually becomes critical rapidly. Some of the symptoms observed are fever, chest pain, fatigue, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, night sweats, cough, weight loss, etc. Apart from these, low immune power is one of the major symptoms that is observed.
Frequently falling sick or infections may indicate towards low immunity. Treatment for thymus disorders are different for different conditions. The people who are affected with SCID may be advised to take antibiotics to boost their immune system. But in case of tumors, whether they are benign or malignant they have to be removed with the help of surgeries.
The disorders may be difficult to treat, but they can be prevented. As the thymus gland starts its functioning from the womb itself, the women should take extra care when they are pregnant. Healthy food and a toxin free life can prevent the baby from acquiring such disorders. Proper growth of the baby is very necessary as the thymus gland is one of the most important organs which produces cells which fight against the harmful foreign pathogens like virus, bacteria etc. So, take care of this organ and lead a healthy life.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.