Swollen Lymph Nodes Neck: Diagnosis, Functions, Causes and Treatments
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in neck, in many cases, is not as serious, especially if it is caused by infections. However, it is always advisable to check the state of this area to rule out other diseases and if it does, it is best to seek a doctor.
These small bumps, which usually appear on the neck when, for example, we cool, are called lymph nodes. They are essential for our body and act as tissue fluid filters (lymph).
They have the almond-like shape, a little more than a centimeter, and form a kind of “bunch” in the regions of the neck, armpits, thorax and abdomen.
If they ignite, what we should do is be calm and remember that in more than half of cases, this inflammation is normal, but of course, this should not be reason not to look for an accurate diagnosis of a doctor.
Next, we will explain the functions of the ganglia and what causes their inflammation.
What is the Function of Swollen Lymph Nodes Neck?
We can say that the swollen lymph nodes in neck basically perform the following functions:
- They filter the lymph of foreign substances, like bacteria and cancer cells, and destroy them.
- They produce white blood cells, such as lymphocytes and plasma cells, responsible for destroying harmful substances.
- The lymphatic system is structured similarly to blood vessels.
- They defend our immune system.
- Lymph nodes have different shapes and sizes. For example, under the jaw, are flat, bean-shaped and are about 1 cm. The nape of the neck are about 0.5 cm in lentil shape, and the crotch is broad and a little more than 1.5 centimeters.
What Causes Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck?
They can ignite for numerous causes. As their main function is to protect our immune system, they are sensitive to any changes in this system.
Its inflammation can occur due to causes without undue importance or to have more serious origins, as for example a cancer. But, let’s take a closer look at the possible causes of this inflammation:
- Normal infections due to colds, flu, tonsillitis.
- Specific bacterial infections: syphilis, tuberculosis, salmonellosis.
- Lupus infection.
- Viral infections such as rubella and measles.
- Infections with other pathogens, such as malaria or leishmaniasis.
- Rheumatic diseases.
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes due to medications such as perchlorate, cotrimoxazole, hydantoin.
- Stress, poor sleep, poor diet, lack of nutrients.
- Lymph nodes can, on occasion, cause inflammation of tumors that are treated in large proportions, such as benign (non-cancerous) neoplasms. However, we must consider that the risk of emergence of so-called malignant lymphomas exists, and that each of the changes we feel and symptoms, should be evaluated by a physician.
Diagnosis of Swollen Lymph Nodes Neck:
Consult a physician, we will have the proper diagnosis and treatment. However, the doctor will always consider some factors and ask the following questions:
- Have you had a cold or the flu?
- In what region did the ganglion swell? Neck, armpit, clavicle?
- When did you notice? Did it show up fast or did it grow slowly?
- Does it hurt on the spot?
- Have you had diseases before the onset of inflammation?
- Do you take any medicine?
- Did you travel recently?
- Have you lost a lot of weight recently?
All this will allow the doctor to detect the problem, since most of the time the inflammations in the ganglia arise due to previous diseases, when our immune system is not yet fully recovered.
In some cases, they arise due to some medication or some bacteria, but with our help and the relevant tests, the doctor can explain the cause of the inflammation.
Data to be considered:
Most of the infections in the ganglia occur in the neck and their origin is almost always related to infections in the throat or the mouth. This type of inflammation is not so dangerous, but it is necessary to control it so that it does not develop, becoming large: when it passes 4 cm, it is necessary to perform a biopsy to know what exactly it is and how serious it is.
Also remember that just as the neck lymph nodes are usually harmless, those on the clavicle, regardless of their size, are always considered dangerous and it is imperative to treat them quickly because they can develop carcinogenic processes.
How to Prevent Problems and Take Care of Our Swollen Lymph Nodes In Neck?
One of the keys to preventing, as much as possible, inflammation of the lymph nodes is undoubtedly strengthening our immune system. For this, it is important that we consume the following foods daily:
Rich in Vitamin C:
Because this vitamin is essential for the immune system, because it fights infections caused by viruses, protects our cells, etc. It can be found in citrus fruits such as kiwis, strawberries, mangoes, tomatoes, etc.
Rich in vitamin E
This vitamin increases the production of white blood cells, protecting us from certain types of cancer and bacteria. It can be found in most fruits and vegetables, as well as in nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, almonds, etc.
Rich in beta-carotene
They have antioxidants, fight against free radicals and strengthen the immune system. Beta carotene can be found in carrots, corn, watermelon, cabbage, beet, pumpkin, asparagus, apricot etc.
Selenium and zinc
They help us produce more cells, giving us energy to the immune system. And where do we find selenium and zinc? Simple, in whole grains, nuts and in the great majority of the dried fruits, in shellfish, in the soybean, etc.
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