Lymphadenopathy, or swollen lymph nodes, can develop in multiple areas of the body including behind the ears, under the arms, sides of the neck, in the abdomen, beneath the chin, in the groin, and in the popliteal fossa, which is less common. Filtering the lymph from toxic agents and waste matter is one of the lymph nodes’ primary functions. Divided into several types, they produce white blood cells called lymphocytes that are T cells and B cells. To help kill off infected cells, the B cells of the bone marrow release antibodies and T cells, of the thymus. In the process of the body combating an illness, an enlarged lymph node occurs. The size of a pea is what a normal lymph node should be. With all of this in mind, we at the ENT Specialists would like to share the fundamentals of swollen lymph nodes.
Symptoms of Swollen Lymph Nodes
Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes varies from each individual. In the places where the lymph nodes have been affected, some often feel pain. The skin in the area might also become red or purple, and there might be tender bumps on or underneath the skin. A common sign of infection in the upper respiratory tract, is a sore throat such as that caused by the common cold and flu being prime examples. The patient can have a hard time swallowing or even breathing as URIs can lead to swelling of the lymph nodes. Often symptoms include coughing, a runny nose, fever, night sweats, headaches, or other flu-like symptoms. Additionally, those with inflamed lymph nodes commonly experience a reduced appetite. Unwanted weight loss and lack of energy can be the outcome of a decreased appetite.
Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes
Swollen lymph nodes can be caused by many factors. Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections often produce lymphadenopathy after the initial infection. The development of lymphadenopathy can be impacted by different conditions such as measles, toxoplasmosis, syphilis, tuberculous, and cat scratch fever. The risk for swelling of the lymph nodes can be the result of skin infections such as impetigo and cellulitis boost. Known to cause lymphadenopathy are several autoimmune illnesses as well such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis for example. Inflammation of the lymph nodes can be an effect of cancer too. Another condition that may cause the lymph nodes to become swollen but doesn’t in most patients is Lymphoma, a cancer which affects the lymphatic system. The swelling of lymph nodes can be influenced from Leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Additionally, linked to lymphadenopathy are breast cancer patients who may choose to have a portion of their lymph nodes removed as part of their treatment. And finally, different medications can also have a negative influence on the lymph nodes and if you are prone to this, be sure to discuss medication with your doctor before use.
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Call the ENT Specialists if you are having a problem with swollen lymph nodes and let our specialists determine the cause and recommend the best treatment options to provide relief.