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Tonsillitis: Structure and functions

Anatomy of Tonsils: The structure:

The tonsils consist of two glandular tissues similar to hundreds of other lymph glands in the human body, present on either side of the back side of the throat. They are normal body organs just like lungs, skin and eyes. They are visible just behind the tongue, when the mouth is opened with slight force. They may vary in size. They are soft to touch and may either be bright red or pink-grayish in color.

Physiology of Tonsils: The Functions:

Tonsils, like any other body organ, have a specific role to play. Rather, tonsils have been allotted the vital task of checking if there are certain intruders such as bacteria, virus, allergens, etc attempting to attack the human body. Tonsils being lymphoid tissues, they produce the special cells called Lymphocytes. The Lymphocytes are similar to the white blood cells (Leukocytes) with which they form an immunological network of self-defense.

Immunology of Tonsils: The Inner Power:

As said earlier, the tonsils work as a filter which fights and protects the entire human system against the foreign organisms. They also help preventing spread of infection from the nearby organisms such as mouth, sinuses, postnasal part, etc. Tonsils produce antibodies, which fight against the infection, stopping its further spread to other parts of the body.

When the bacteria or virus attack the body, they initially have to face the tonsils. In the process of fighting towards the germs and microbes the tonsils get inflamed (called tonsillitis) which is simply a symbol of the local defense mechanism at work. In the process, they produce lymphocytes, and antibodies to generate the required immune response. When you see the tonsil infected, inflamed and swollen, actually you are seeing the tonsils at work. However, it is not implied that the inflamed tonsils do not need treatment. They do need treatment with a scientific attitude. They need to be treated but not to be necessarily removed! Compare them again with the soldiers fighting at the battle field, who need special care but not removal from the battle field unless they are seriously injured or incapable of doing their job!

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