Lymph nodes, also known as lymph glands, are a part of the lymphatic system, a component comprising the body’s immune system. They are found throughout the body, but they can only be seen or felt if they are swollen or enlarged. According to medical care centers in Suffolk County, NY, swollen lymph nodes aren’t necessarily an indication of cancer. They may indicate a common infection or a medical condition, like an immune disorder or sometimes, but rarely, a certain type of cancer. Here is a deeper insight to help you understand all you need to know about lymph nodes.
Common Locations of Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are named based on the locations in which they’re located in the body. Some common locations where swollen lymph nodes appear, and their names include:
- On the neck -cervical lymph nodes
- Inside the chest near the heart - mediastinal lymph nodes
- On different areas on the abdomen - mesenteric and retroperitoneal lymph nodes
- In the armpits - axillary lymph nodes
- In the groin - inguinal lymph nodes
- In the pelvis - pelvic lymph nodes
Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes
Several conditions can result in swollen lymph nodes, including infections, viruses, inflammatory diseases, and some cancers. Infections lead to multiplication of the white blood cells needed to fight the infection. Common infections include fungal or parasitic, HIV, mononucleosis, measles, skin or wound infection, and ear infections. Rare infections may include tuberculosis, and STDs, such as syphilis. Lymph nodes also may swell due to a reaction to a viral infection, such as the common cold, or even a serious virus, such as HIV. Common inflammatory diseases that can cause lymph node swelling include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and some cancers, such as breast cancer and lung cancer, may also cause some swelling in the nearest lymph nodes.
Signs and Symptoms of Swollen Lymph Nodes
Symptoms vary and sometimes a person may not show symptoms at all. Others may show severe symptoms that prompt them to visit urgent medical centers in Suffolk County, NY, immediately. At times, the lymph node may be extremely tender, disfiguring, and painful. Other symptoms may only be related to the underlying medical condition. Common symptoms can include sore throats, runny nose, fever, night sweats, weight loss, loss of appetite, local infections, swelling of one or multiple lymph nodes, and red skin patches over the lymph nodes.
When to See a Doctor
Some swollen lymph nodes get back to normal once the underlying condition gets better. However, you should visit a medical center in Suffolk County, NY, if the swelling appeared for seemingly no reason and doesn’t go away after one to four weeks. In addition, if the swollen lymph node feels hard or rubbery and is accompanied by a persistent fever, weight loss, or night sweats, you should see a doctor. If you have swollen lymph nodes or for any concern about your overall health, contact Peconic Bay Medical Center for a list of family medical centers in Suffolk County.