Symptoms of Enlarged Lymph Nodes: What Are Swollen Glands?

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Enlarged lymph nodes can indicate various diseases, including cancer or HIV.

Oncologist Dr. Sona Isakova, in an interview with “Izvestia” newspaper, often hears from doctors that “lymph nodes are enlarged” when a patient examines him.

According to him, the lymph nodes are an important part of the immune system because they represent a kind of lymph filter – a biological fluid that washes all the tissues and cells of the body. By passing through the lymph nodes, the lymph is cleaned of various pathogens, and the word “pathogen” refers not only to viruses and bacteria, but also to elements of the body such as cancer cells.

“A lymph node greater than 1cm is generally considered enlarged – this size is used as an average guideline,” he says. “However, this number is not universal, and exceeding it does not always indicate disease. There is a significant level. The enlargement of the lymph nodes is called lymph node enlargement.” “Painful enlargement of lymph nodes is called lymphadenitis. Lymph nodes are present all over the body, but they are enlarged in the neck region and their enlargement is seen in about 50 percent of cases.”

The doctor points out that lymph nodes can become enlarged for a variety of reasons, such as upper respiratory tract infections, invasive mononucleosis, and HIV. Lymph nodes can swell when taking certain medications and bacterial infections, such as tonsillitis, gum disease, autoimmune diseases, and cancer, especially lymph node cancer.

According to him, to determine the method of treatment of enlarged lymph nodes, the patient should inform the doctor in detail about everything he complains about, enlargement and dynamic changes, recent and chronic diseases and medications he takes. If the patient or one of his relatives has cancer, it is important to mention the cancer.

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He says: “In terms of treatment, apart from lymphoma, we need to know that lymphadenopathy is a secondary process. That is, the process develops in response to some underlying cause. That is, treatment must target the underlying disease. In the absence of lymph node inflammation, rejection, treating the underlying disease is its key. The focus poses a risk to the area where it is located, such as dental problems, infectious complications and failure to treat cancer in time. Antibiotic treatment or surgical intervention may be required.

Some swollen lymph nodes will return to normal when the underlying condition, such as a minor infection, improves. Consult your doctor if you are concerned or if your lymph nodes are swollen:

– It appeared for no apparent reason.

– Continues to enlarge or remains for two to four weeks.

– It feels hard or rubbery or doesn't move when you press on it.

– accompanied by persistent fever, night sweats or unexplained weight loss.

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