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Lymphangitis is an inflammation of the lymphatic system, which is the main component of the immune system.
The organs that make up the lymphatic system (lymph) include bone marrow, spleen, and thymus (helpful in the production of white blood cells). The immune cells called lymphocytes mature in the bone marrow to be subsequently placed in the lymph nodes and other organs of the lymphatic system, responsible for the protection against viruses and bacteria.
Lymphangitis occurs when the viruses and bacteria invade the lymphatic vessel, usually through the infected injury or wound. Most often it manifests itself as a delicate red smudges appear around the wound, directed to the nearest lymph node. Other symptoms are often fever, chills, and malaise.
If left untreated, inflammation of the lymphatic system can have serious consequences.
The causes of acute inflammation of the lymphatic vessels
Lymphangitis occurs when bacteria or viruses get into the lymphatic channels. Most often it occurs as a result of injury or wounds when there is an infection. The most common causes of inflammation of the lymphatic vessels is a Staphylococcal infection.
Lymphangitis may occur when you get a skin infection that does not improve. This situation may then mean that the bacteria get into the bloodstream, which can often lead to serious complications like sepsis – a life-threatening inflammation of the entire body.
The risk of acute inflammation of lymphatic vessels increases:
- immune disorders,
- chronic steroid use,
- animal bites, etc.
The symptoms of lymphangitis
The first and the most characteristic symptom at the onset of inflammation are red streaks appearing on the surface of the skin which is close to the lymph glands. Other symptoms include:
- swelling of the lymph nodes,
- bad mood,
- loss of appetite,
- headaches and muscle aches.
Diagnosis and treatment of lymphangitis
Swelling of the lymph nodes is a clear signal that something’s up, so the doctor instructs the additional blood test that will determine the occurrence of inflammation in the body.
- in the case of abscesses, sometimes surgery is necessary.
It is important to adequate nurturing the infected are what will help reduce swelling and slow down the spread of any infection.
Among the complications of inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, may appear:
- inflammation of connective tissue,
- bacteremia – when the bacteria get into the blood,
- sepsis – a life-threatening infection of the entire body,
- abscesses – a painful collection of pus, accompanied by inflammation and swelling.