Swollen lymph nodes What are lymph nodes
Swollen lymph nodes What are lymph nodes? Lymph nodes are small, beanshaped glands throughout the body. They are part of the lymph system, which carries fluid (lymph fluid), nutrients, and waste material between the body tissues and the bloodstream. The lymph system is an important part of the immune system, the body’s defense system against disease. The lymph nodes filter lymph fluid as it flows through them, trapping bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances, which are then destroyed by special white blood.
Cells called lymphocytes. Lymph nodes may be found singly or in groups. And they may be as small as the head of a pin or as large as an olive. Groups of lymph nodes can be felt in the neck, groin, and underarms. Lymph nodes generally are not tender or painful. Most lymph nodes in the body cannot be felt. What causes swollen lymph nodes? Lymph nodes often swell in one location when a problem such as an injury, infection, or tumor develops in or near the lymph node. Which lymph nodes are swollen can help identify.
The problem. The glands on either side of the neck, under the jaw, or behind the ears commonly swell when you have a cold or sore throat. Glands can also swell following an injury, such as a cut or bite, near the gland or when a tumor or infection occurs in the mouth, head, or neck. Glands in the armpit (axillary lymph nodes) may swell from an injury or infection to the arm or hand. A rare cause of axillary swelling may be breast cancer or lymphoma. The lymph nodes in the groin (femoral or inguinal lymph nodes) may swell from an injury or infection.
In the foot, leg, groin, or genitals. In rare cases, testicular cancer, lymphoma, or melanoma may cause a lump in this area.
Lymph Nodes Swollen Glands Andrew Alexander MD
Lymph nodes help your body recognize and fight germs, infections and other foreign substances. A swollen gland is an enlargement of one or more lymph nodes. We went to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs and spoke with Andrew Alexander, asking him to tell us why people get swollen glands? Glands are important Be glad you have them. Now everybody needs them because if you don’t have them you have real trouble. They’re part of the immune system. Lymphatic tissue is really what we’re talking about here. They lymph system is a system where fluid is retrieved back from the peripheral tissues back towards the heart. Now when that happens it goes through.
A series of these glands or lymph nodes. Lymph glands are throughout your entire body the most prominent ones that you’ll see as a patient are going to be in your neck, your arm pit and your groin and these are tissue once again I said that fluid comes back into it. Now the most important thing about the fluid is that first it’s being retrieved from the body so you don’t swell up but secondly, it’s full of white blood cells, infection fighters where these cells can identify foreign material like viruses like things that don’t belong there and then they become activated in the lymph nodes, they can magnify the response and with some memory now they can send out little infection fighters on white blood cells.
Throughout the system to fight further infection. It’s normal to have an infectious response. You want to have an infectious response, you want to have your immune system activated to anything that’s foreign. And so if you get a cold, you’re going to swell up, now upper respiratory the glands that are most prominent are the tonsils. Tonsils are part of the lymphatic system. The glands of the neck will often swell. If you have an eye infection or pink eye, you’re going to have swelling right in front of the ears because that’s where the drainage occurs as the lymph tissue goes towards the heart, towards that lymph node where it activates and magnifies that response so that infection fighting cells.
Can be specific for that particular attacker but there are also other things, bacteria, the most common cause of an enlargement nowadays is cat scratch fever. A lot of cats run around the house, about half of them are infected with this bacteria and so you can get a lymph node that be enlarged and we take lymph nodes out because sometimes they’re malignant. But the large majority of those are infectious and so there’s lymph nodes that enlarge from bacterial causes. Some of the more famous ones in history, syphilis, tuberculosis, the bubonic plague. These are things whether they’re bacteria or from ticks and bacteria from ticks, the bite occurs and the regional lymph node tries to wall off that infection and sometimes.
It’s a disaster because of these huge leaking nodes of the past. Today we have antibiotics, we cure those. Then there’s the real problematic notes. A rarely small amount of these are cancerous and so depending upon the patient, we always want them to be very cognizant of the size and duration of these lymph nodes. If they get to within about three quarters of an inch in size and they haven’t gone away in a couple of weeks you need to have a pow wow with your and let you and them together decide what the next step is. If they stay there, the get biopsied and then there are high risk people because there are some lymphomas, there are cancer to the lungs, there are breast cancers that go to their.
Regional protective nodes. Breast cancer go to the arm pit. Some of the lung cancers might make a node above the clavical so if you have a smoker who’s been coughing and they have a lump up here in the so called Virchow’s node, that’s problematic. Alexander told us how serious swollen glands can be. I remember when I was a kid, if you had a red streak going up your arm the regional wisdom was that when it got to your heart you died. Well that’s not really true, that’s lymphangitis. Now there’d be one where you treat because the most common cause there would be a gram positive bacteria, a staph or a strep. That would be treated with antibiotics, so that regional lymph node would be treated. A cat.
Scratch fever would be treated, tuberculosis and it’s associated nodes would be treated, but you’re watching most of these and doing nothing hoping they’re viral but time is on your side. You have a couple weeks, if they don’t regress, if they stay three quarters of an inch, two centimeters in size, it’s time to talk to your doc with the thought that maybe they’ll be a biopsy if the next treatment doesn’t work.