Glands are organs in the body that produce and distribute important substances to be used by other parts of the body. The thymus gland's role in the body was not clearly understood until the 1960s; however, since then, much has been discovered about the gland including the types of disorders often associated with it.
The thymus gland is a mass of tissue in the upper chest of humans. It controls the immune system by producing what are called "T" cells, which protect the body against unwelcome foes like bacteria. It is usually proportionally large in infants and gradually decreases in size, reaching the peak of its size during adolescence, according to "Crofton and Douglas's Respiratory Diseases, Vol. 2."
Thymus disorders may involve the thymus being an abnormal size, which can be difficult to detect in children. The thymus may also develop tumours, both cancerous (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign).
Thymus disorders may result from immune disorders, such as HIV, or may also result from abnormal development of a child in the womb.
Thymus tumours are removed with surgery.
According to KidsHealth.org, immune disorders, such as those found in the thymus gland, usually cannot be prevented. But leading a healthy, toxin-free lifestyle during pregnancy can help prevent development problems of the child's thymus gland while in the womb.
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