Showing posts sorted by relevance for query lymph system.. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query lymph system.. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Importance of the Lymphatic System



The lymphatic system is a system of the body that’s often overlooked. Yet, it plays an important role in the function of the immune system, aiding the body in fighting infection, diseases and more. Read on to learn more about this important system, how to keep it functioning properly and signs it’s not working.





What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system, also called the lymph system, is a system of the body composed of clear, watery fluid, called lymph.

How does the lymph system function?

By collecting fluid, debris and other things in the body’s tissue, the system helps the body fight against infection, viruses, bacteria and fungi.  In addition, proper drainage of the lymphatic system prohibits swelling from occurring in the body. The system plays an important role in immune system function.

Where is the lymphatic system located?

The lymphatic system is located throughout the body. Organs that contain lymphoid tissue include:

Lymph nodes
Tonsils
Spleen
Thymus
Appendix
Bone marrow
Heart
Lungs
Intestines
Liver
Skin

What are lymph nodes?

Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands located throughout the lymph system, which filter harmful substances from the body. They tend to cluster in regions throughout the body. Large clusters of lymph nodes are in the armpits, neck and groin areas.  Swollen lymph nodes most often are a sign of infection. The most common reason for swollen lymph nodes in the neck is viral upper respiratory infections, typically associated with the common cold.

What diseases are associated with the lymphatic system?

According to www.kidshealth.org,

Lymphadenopathy: A condition that causes swollen or enlarged lymph nodes due to a nearby infection. Throat infections, for instance, can cause swollen glands in the neck. The swelling usually subsides once the infection is properly treated.

Lymphadenitis: This ailment is usually caused by a bacterial infection. The disorder is treated with antibiotics.

Lymphomas: A type of cancer that starts in the lymph nodes.

Splenomegaly: This disorder is also known as an enlarged spleen. It is typically caused by a viral infection such as mononucleosis.  In rare cases, the cause is cancer.

Tonsillitis: An infection of the tonsils, the lymph tissue in the back of the mouth at the top of the throat. It is usually associated with a sore throat, fever and difficulty swallowing. Repeated incidents of tonsillitis may require the removal of the tonsils, a tonsillectomy.

How can you keep the lymphatic system functioning properly?

Experts suggest exercise helps keep the lymph system working properly. In some instances, slant boards or inversion units are used. These devices allow you to hang upside down, stimulating the lymph system. Finally, a procedure called lymphatic drainage may be used in rare cases, such as for lymphedema.

What is lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic drainage is a hands-on procedure, similar to massage, that encourages movement of stalled lymph in the body. As with any treatment, always speak to your health provider before undergoing lymphatic drainage.

Where can you learn more?

Visit www.cancer.org or www.training.seer.cancer.gov for additional information on this system.

Be Wize and Be Healthy
- FamilyWize

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Latest on TB

What is TB?

According to the Center for Disease Control, TB is a disease caused by a bacterium that typically affects the lungs. Also known as tuberculosis, TB can attack other organs such as the kidneys, the spine, and the brain. Left untreated, TB can be fatal. But, the disease is curable.


History of TB:

TB was once the leading cause of death in the U.S.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, the disease became an epidemic. TB still causes an estimated 1.5 million deaths annually.  While reported cases of TB are at a record low, the disease remains a worldwide health concern today, especially in undeveloped countries.

Symptoms of TB:

A persistent cough lasting for more than a few weeks.
Weight loss.
Weakness and/or fatigue.
Chest pain.
Coughing up blood.
Lack of appetite.
Night sweats.
Fever.
Chills.

What is the difference between latent and active TB?

With latent tuberculosis, you have the TB infection in your body, but you have no symptoms. The disease remains inactive and is not contagious. However, latent TB must be treated. Approximately 1/3 of the world’s population has latent tuberculosis!

In the case of active tuberculosis, you will suffer from symptoms, you will feel sick, and you are also contagious.

Is tuberculosis contagious?

Yes, active tuberculosis can quickly and easily spread through air particles from an infected person who is coughing or sneezing, for instance, to others. This is why it’s not uncommon to hear of TB outbreaks occurring after an infected individual uses mass transportation or travels by plane. Despite this, experts say that it’s not that easy to catch TB.

How is TB diagnosed?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Physical Exam: Your doctor will check your lymph nodes and listen to your lungs while breathing to help determine if tuberculosis might be present.
Skin Test: The most common test for TB. A reaction on your skin in the area you’re tested indicates the possibility of having TB. False-negative results may occur, so follow-up tests usually confirm a diagnosis.
Blood Test: Typically used to rule out or confirm latent or active TB after skin test.
Chest X-Ray: Confirms findings of a skin test.
Sputum Test: This method, used after an x-ray, involves testing the sputum, mucus you bring up while coughing, for the TB bacterium.

Risk factors for catching TB:

Anyone with a compromised immune system has a greater chance of catching TB if exposed. Examples include:

Being infected with HIV.
Having other chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, which affect the body’s ability to fight infection.
Alcohol or tobacco use.
Improper treatment of tuberculosis in the past.

Treatments for TB:

The standard treatment is 6 months of antibiotics. This course of treatment can last up to 2 years if the medications stop working, which is known as drug resistance.

Latest findings:

Vitamin A may help to fight TB by boosting the immune system, according to this article.
TB can be difficult to treat because it is often drug resistant. This means scientists need to keep finding new drugs for the treatment of this disease. Medications known as multiple-target drugs have shown signs of being good treatment options. See this article for more details.
The TB Alliance is planning to launch a study of a combination of TB drugs used as a “cocktail” to treat the disease.  The hope is this new treatment option will alleviate the occurrence of drug resistance with TB.

For more information, visit www.annals.org or www.nim.nih.gov/medlineplus.

Be Wize & Be Healthy
-FamilyWize