Why do Lymph Nodes Swell?

What are lymph glands?

Lymph nodes, part of the lymphatic system, they are bean shaped, small are found throughout the body called as lymph glands.  The lymphatic system keeps you healthy by circulating lymph, protein rich fluid, throughout your body, ridding it of toxins, waste products, and viruses.

When breast cancer spreads outside the breast, one of the first places it will likely go in the lymph nodes under the arm. Most of the lymph nodes are small but larger nodes are grouped throughout the body. The area under the arms is called the axillaries lymph nodes.

Why do Lymph Nodes Swell

Types of Lymph nodes

  • Axillaries lymph nodes
  • Cervical lymph nodes
  • Thymus lymph nodes
  • Thymus
  • Spleen
  • GALT (Gut associated lymphatic tissues)
  • Lymphatic vessels
  • Inguinal lymph nodes

Symptoms of Lymph nodes swelling

  • Pain, redness in the affected area
  • Persistent depression in the skin when pressed
  • Feeling of tightness or stiffness in the skin
  • Swelling, most often in the arms, hands, shoulders, fingers, chest or legs.
  • Pitting of the skin imprint remains after light pressure is applied
  • Decreased movement of flexibility in the hand, wrist or ankle.
  • Tight fitting ring witches clothes or shoes.
  • A weakness or heavy feeling in the arms and legs.

Why it affects the lymph nodes?

The condition is most commonly associated with the breast cancer patients, this can be surgically removed and this can also be removed by the radiation therapy. All these can treat breast cancer from spreading to nodes and under arms. Lymph nodes are also found in other parts of the body such as the neck, abdomen, and groin. That is why lymph node swelling effects in both the genders. And this can result from treatment for other cancers suchas

  • Lymphoma
  • Gynaecological cancers
  • Head and neck cancers
  • Prostate cancer
  • Melanoma

Stages of progression

Lymph nodes swell in four stages the last three of which are active

  • Stage 0: This stage is called latency, the transport capacity of the lymphatic system is reduced due to a mechanical dysfunction caused by trauma such as surgery lymph nodes but the swelling is not visible.
  • Stage 1: This is a mild stage, where some swelling becomes noticeable.
  • Stage 2: this is moderate the tissue starts to harden.
  • Stage 3: this is a severe stage, in this, the tissue is harder and the affected limb becomes very large and swollen a condition known as lymphatic.

Preventing and treatment of swollen lymph nodes

With early diagnosis and proper care treatment, lymph node prevention may be prevented or controlled and with surgical options

Preventing lymph nodes

  • A sensitive lymph node biopsy
  • Gentle range of motion exercises
  • Compression bandages, pumps or garments.

Managing swollen lymph nodes

Once signs of lymph node swelling appear, steps can be taken to manage the symptoms and prevent them from progressing

  • Compression bandages, pumps or garments.
  • Lymph drainage therapy
  • Manual lymph node drainage