Your lymph nodes are one of the most important organs in your body, and while they may be tiny, they’re mighty important when it comes to your health.
And even though they control many essential functions throughout the body, most people have never heard of a lymph node or know where they’re located!
Things You Need to Know About Your Nodes
Fantastic filters -- Lymph nodes are small, kidney bean-shaped organs that are the filters of the lymphatic system. They clean the lymph fluid and lymphocytes, removing bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. The nodes are also responsible for the manufacturing and storage of infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes.
White fight -- A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell, which helps fight viruses or bacteria that cause infection.
Count 'em up -- There are 100’s of nodes from head to toe! They can be found anywhere in the body and are strategically located where bacteria are most commonly found.
Hide and seek -- Lymph nodes can be felt in the armpits, the groin and the neck. There are many more that can't be felt, such as nodes in the stomach, pelvis and chest.
High five -- Lymph nodes are symmetrical. During a regular physical examination, a physician will feel and compare five pairs of matching lymph nodes to make sure they are healthy.
Up sizing -- When working to fight an infection, lymph nodes become larger because they need more power to do their job. They may also become tender when the body is fighting infection (such as "mono" or step throat).
Know the name -- Lymph nodes are sometimes incorrectly called "glands" or "lymph glands," but they do not secrete anything and are therefore not glands.
Tree of life -- The lymphatic system looks like a tree, with many outstretched branches called lymphatic vessels that act like channels carrying a colourless liquid called lymph. The lymphatic system looks a lot like the circulation system, which carries blood through the body.
Defense system -- The lymphatic system is a network of tissue, ducts and organs that is an important part of the immune system, playing a major role in the body's defense against infection and cancer.
Open wide -- Tonsils, perhaps the best-known part of the lymphatic system, are lymphatic organs. They work with the immune system to help prevent infections.