Swollen Lymph Nodes (Glands) – Causes

Lymph Nodes are also called lymph glands. These swollen nodes may signal an infection. Lymph nodes are part of lymphatic system .The lymphatic system (a part of the immune system of the body) consists of ducts and nodes which are spread throughout the body.

There are various types of nodes of lymph which are bean shaped small in size and are soft nodules of tissue. The ones which are larger in size or swollen are found under the chin, on the neck, in the armpits and in the groin region. There are numerous lymph nodes in the chest which tend to get enlarged when seen on X-rays or CT scans.

The lymphatic system brings the tissue fluid surrounding the cells which contains the lymphocytes (WBC) fluid from the red blood cells and intestines (chyle) backs into the circulation through the veins. The lymph consists of concentration of antigens and infectious substances.

Lymph nodes are small parts of cells surrounded by capsule like structure. The lymphocytes are the cells present in the lymph nodes which produce antibodies and macrophages which digests the debris. They act as the cleaner cells of the body. The group of lymph nodes is the spleen which apart from other functions helps to fight infections and responds to foreign substances in the body.

The lymph nodes are main junction where infectious agents and foreign substances interact with the lymphocytes (cells of the immune system)

Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes

  • Viruses: Immune reaction to viral infections can occur with infections like HIV and common cold.
  • Inflammation of body parts: Inflammation in a region of a lymph node and infiltration with inflammatory cells.
  • Infection: It leads to increase in number of white blood cells which increases in number due to foreign substance called antigen.
  • Cancer: Infiltration with cells which are malignant brought to the node with the lymph flowing from an area of specific types of cancer.
  • Blood Cancer: Multiplication of WBC as in lymphoma or leukemia in a uncontrolled way.