Swollen Lymph Nodes

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Swollen lymph nodes facts

  • Lymph nodes are important part of the immune system.
  • Lymph nodes are located throughout the body, but visible and palpable only when they are enlarged or swollen.
  • Lymph nodes are regional, and each group of them corresponds to a particular region of the body and reflects abnormalities in that region.
  • In general, infections are the most common causes of lymph node enlargement. Other common causes include inflammation and cancers.
  • Not all swollen lymph nodes are abnormal.

What are lymph nodes?

Lymph nodes are an important component of the body's immune system and help in fighting infections.

They are small, soft, round or oval structures that are found throughout the body and are connected to each other in chain-like (lymphatic chains) fashion by channels similar to blood vessels. Each individual lymph node is covered by a capsule made up of connective tissue.

Within the capsule, lymph nodes contain certain kinds of immune cells. These cells are mainly lymphocytes, which produce proteins that capture and fight viruses and other microbes, and macrophages, which destroy and remove the captured material.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/5/2015

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Swollen Lymph Nodes Symptoms

Swollen lymph glands are typically a result of local or widespread inflammation, but sometimes enlarged lymph nodes are due to cancer.

Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes include:

  • Swelling
  • Localized pain
  • Warmth in the involved area
  • Tenderness
Picture of Lymph Nodes