Swollen Glands


In addition to Waldeyer’s ring, the neck has about 300 tiny lymph nodes. These are imperceptible except when they become enlarged, either through infection or when a tumor appears. When this lymphatic tissue becomes enlarged, we refer to the condition as swollen glands. When this occurs, you may feel lumps or marble-like structures along the sides of your neck. The swollen glands can be subtle or may be so large that they can be viewed just by looking at the outside of the neck.

The tongue can also be affected. The tongue is a huge muscle that can swell during a severe allergic reaction or even a mild infection. In milder instances, you’ll notice difficulty speaking. In severe instances, tongue swelling can cause you to stop breathing, and immediate medical attention is required. This swelling can lead to partial or total obstruction of the throat, although this is very rare.

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