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  • Writer's pictureNicole Longwell

Just a few ailments that affect the lymphatic system

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

By its very nature, the lymphatic system is involved whenever the body is fighting against foreign pathogens or abnormal body cells. The lymph nodes (especially in the neck) often swell with bacteria and lymphocytes when the body is battling common illnesses such as colds and influenza. However, certain diseases and disorders target the lymphatic system. Some slow down the ability of the system to work; others literally shut it down. The result can be life threatening.The following are a few of the diseases that can impair the lymphatic system or its parts.

AIDS: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a disorder caused by a virus (HIV) that infects helper T cells and weakens immune responses.

Allergy: An abnormal immune reaction to an otherwise harmless substance.

Autoimmune disease: Condition in which the body produces antibodies that attack and destroy the body's own tissues.

Graves' disease: Disorder in which an antibody binds to specific cells in the thyroid gland, forcing them to secrete excess thyroid hormone.

HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus, which infects helper T cells and weakens immune responses, leading to the severe AIDS disorder.

Lymphedema: a condition in which lymph fluid builds up in tissues and causes swelling

Lymphadenitis (lim-fad-e-NIE-tis): Inflammation of lymph nodes.

Lymphangitis (lim-fan-JIE-tis): Inflammation of lymphatic vessels.

Lymphoma (lim-FOE-mah): General term applied to cancers of the lymphatic system, which include Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

Multiple sclerosis (skle-ROW-sis): Disorder in which immune cells attack and destroy the insulation covering nerve fibers in the central nervous system, causing muscular weakness and loss of coordination.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (sis-TEM-ick LOU-pus er-i-the-mah-TOE-sis): Also called lupus or SLE, disorder in which antibodies attack the body's own tissues as if they were foreign.

Tonsillitis (tahn-si-LIE-tis): Infection and swelling of the tonsils.

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