Kamis, 05 Desember 2019

The function of the thymus gland for health

The thymus gland has an important role in the immune system. If the thymus gland does not work well, cancer cells and various types of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, will easily attack your body. The thymus gland is a gland located in the middle of the chest cavity, precisely behind the breastbone and between the lungs. Its shape resembles a small tube and consists of two parts of the same size. This thymus gland will change in size with age. When children and adolescents, the thymus gland will be more active and its size will be larger. When entering adulthood, these glands will shrink, and in the elderly, almost all the thymus glandular tissue will be replaced with fat tissue.

Thymus Gland Function

The thymus gland is an important part of the lymph system (lymphatic system) in the body. One of the important tasks of the thymus gland for health is producing white blood cells called T-lymphocytes or T cells. These cells are part of the immune system that functions to fight cancer cells and microorganisms that cause infections that enter the body. To maintain your health, T-lymphocytes do not work alone. These cells are assisted by another white blood cell called a B-lymphocyte. B-lymphocytes are produced by the spinal cord in the body. This white blood cell is in charge of detecting certain substances, foreign objects, and microorganisms that are considered dangerous in the body, then producing antibodies to fight them. In addition to T-lymphocyte cells, the thymus gland also produces the hormone thymosin which is tasked with supporting the work of T-lymphocytes in fighting infections and cancer cells. Several types of hormones, such as insulin and melatonin (sleep regulating hormones), are also produced by this gland, but only in small amounts. Although quite rare, the thymus gland has the potential to develop cancer. Cancer of the thymus gland is called thymoma. Sometimes this disease is asymptomatic, but if it gets worse, thymoma can cause several symptoms, such as:
  • Chest pain
  • Hard to breathe
  • Chronic cough
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss
  • Easily tired
  • Swelling in the face and arms

Take care of the health of the thymus gland from now on!

Applying a healthy lifestyle is the most practical and effective way you can do to maintain the health of organs, including the thymus gland. To keep your immune system and thymus gland healthy, you can do the following:
  • Eating a balanced nutritious food.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not smoke and avoid consuming alcoholic drinks.
  • Maintain ideal body weight.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Reduce or avoid things that can trigger stress.
  • Sleep enough.
In addition to following some of the above healthy habits, regular health checks to the doctor also need to be done to ensure the health of the immune system, including the thymus gland. Because as you get older, your risk of experiencing problems in the thymus gland will be even higher. Problems that can arise include the size of the gland that does not shrink with age, thymus gland abnormalities, or abnormal white blood cell levels. The doctor will usually do a physical examination and support, such as blood tests to find out whether your thymus gland produces white blood cells in the right amount or not. To determine whether the shape of the thymus gland is normal or not, your doctor may also suggest other investigations, such as X-rays, and CT scans, or chest MRI.

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