Signs and symptoms of an overactive thymus gland

Written by sarah dewitt ince
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Signs and symptoms of an overactive thymus gland
If you get colds an flu a lot you may have thymus gland problems. (kunertus/iStock/Getty Images)

The thymus gland is a small organ located underneath the breastbone. This gland is responsible for processing a type of white blood cell called T-lymphocyte. White blood cells boost immunity by destroying bacteria and viruses. Without white blood cells, the body becomes weak and more susceptible to disease. An overactive thymus gland may indicate that you have an underlying medical condition, such as Myasthenia Gravis or another type of disease. However, only a doctor can make a proper diagnosis.

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Shortness of breath

One symptom of an overactive thymus gland is shortness of breath. This can result in coughing, wheezing and difficulty in breathing, especially after running or other physical activity. Shortness of breath can also indicate a respiratory or heart condition so check with your doctor about these symptoms.


People who suffer from an overactive thymus gland become weak and may lose interest in daily activities. They will rest for longer periods of time and become exhausted easily. People with this condition may also notice that their facial muscles become weak as well.

Thymic tumors

Someone with an overactive thymus gland may also develop thymic tumours. However, these may go unnoticed until their mass begins pushing up against the breastbone or ribs, causing chest pain, breathing problems and difficulty in swallowing. A thymus tumour may or may not be cancerous. Only a biopsy can determine this.

Weakened immune system

A person with an overactive or underactive thymus gland will have a weakened immune system, leading to frequent bouts of the flu and other viruses. When the immune system is not functioning properly, viruses have a firmer grip on the body so it takes longer to recover from the common cold and other illnesses.

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