What is it?

The thymus is a part of the immune system. It plays an important role in the maturation of T cells, which are a type of white blood cell that protects the body from foreign intruders.
The thymus is located behind the sternum and in front of the heart. It continues to grow until adolescence, after which it shrinks throughout adult life and eventually completely degenerates in most people.
There are various diseases that can affect the thymus. These diseases can manifest as impaired thymus function, and lead to self-attack of the body by the immune system. These diseases are called autoimmune diseases, and an example of one of them associated with thymus dysfunction is myasthenia gravis. Other type of diseases can cause the thymus to continuously grow within the thoracic cavity, a phenomenon also known as hyperplasia, resulting in shortness of breath and chest pain.
Treatment of thymus diseases varies depending on the type of disease, and may include supervision, medication, or surgical removal of the impaired organ.

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Diseases of Thymus Gland.

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Abscess of Thymus
- Persistent Hyperplasia of Thymus

Signs & symptoms

symptoms and signs depend on the specific problem but may include shortness of breath, cough, hemoptisis, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, weight loss, severe muscle weakness, fatigue, difficulties in climbing stairs or walking long distances, blurred or double vision and drooping eyelids, susceptiblity to infections. patients with hypogammaglubulinemia suffer from recurrent, chronic, or atypical infections. These infections include but are not limited to: bronchitis, ear infections, meningitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, and skin infections.


Diagnosis will begin with medical history and a physical examination including neurological examination. Then, the doctor might use several tests including: Blood work to look for antibodies, a complete blood count with a differential that looks at the total number and type of blood cells in your blood. Edrophonium test, ice pack test and EMG can help diagnose myasthenia gravis. Imaging of the thymus gland such as an US, CT or an MRI to look for a tumor. Bone marrow examination to diagnose pure red cell aplasia.


MG- Cholinesterase inhibitors, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressive therapy
PRCA- corticosteroids, blood transfusions, immunosuppressive therapy
Hypogammaglobulinemia- immune globulin replacement therapy.
Thymoma- surgery,radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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