What are the common causes of lymphatic inflammation?

The causes of lymphatic swelling will depend on where in the lymphatic system the swelling is occurring. One of the most common types of lymphatic inflammation refers to swollen glands or lymph nodes. This is caused by white blood cells building up inside the glands as they try to fight off some type of infection. Occasionally, lymphatic swelling can be caused by lymphedema, liver disease, or cancer.

Most often, lymphatic swelling is limited to the lymph nodes and is usually caused by an infection somewhere in the body. In most of these cases, the swelling involves the nodes closest to the site of infection. For example, a sinus infection can cause swollen glands in the neck region. This swelling is usually temporary and goes away when the infection clears, although sometimes a lymph node will remain swollen for several days or even weeks.

The swelling of the lymph nodes should not increase over time once the initial infection is over. This could be a sign of lymphoma, which is a type of cancer of the lymph nodes. Swollen lymph nodes in more than one area of ​​the body can also be the result of cancer, or can sometimes indicate a generalized infection that needs to be treated by a medical professional.

Lymphedema can also cause lymphatic swelling. This is a condition that causes mild to severe swelling or water retention in the arms or legs. It is usually caused by damage to the lymph nodes closest to the affected limb. Treatment may include wrapping the limb, draining, and preventing infection and injury to the area.

Occasionally, lymphatic swelling can be found internally. The liver is part of the lymphatic system and can become swollen if it is diseased in any way. Possible causes of liver disease can vary widely, so treatments vary as well. Alcoholism, hepatitis, and taking prescription or over-the-counter medications can contribute to liver disease.

Cancer is another potential cause of lymphatic inflammation. Malignant cells can appear in virtually any area of ​​the body and can sometimes infect the lymph nodes or the liver. Lymphoma is the most common type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Survival for this type of cancer is likely when it is found early and treated right away. Warning signs include severe swelling in one or more lymph nodes that does not go away and is not related to infection.

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