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The throat and neck have many different functions of the body such as swallowing, breathing, speaking and hormone production. These many functions make the area susceptible to different health conditions.

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils that leads to swelling, sore throat and difficulty swallowing. It is usually the result of a viral or bacterial infection and tends to affect children more frequently than any other age group.

sore throat is a painful but common affliction that everyone suffers from on occasion. It may be the first sign of a cold, the result of strained vocal cords or a symptom of a more serious condition such as strep throat. As miserable as a sore throat can make you feel, in many cases symptoms clear up quickly and without medical treatment.

Laryngitis is swelling and irritation of the larynx (voice box). It causes hoarseness and, in some cases, voice loss. It can be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting), but is usually the result of a temporary viral infection or vocal strain and clears up quickly. Persistent laryngitis that lasts longer than two weeks could be a sign of a serious condition and should be evaluated by a doctor.

The thyroid and parathyroid are both glands in the neck that are responsible for producing hormones. The thyroid regulates the body’s metabolism, while the parathyroid controls the levels of calcium in the body. Both are prone to disorders involving abnormal amounts of hormone production.

There are different types of thyroid cancer. Papillary, the most common, forms in the follicular cells that produce thyroid hormone. It usually strikes people aged 30 to 50. Follicular thyroid cancer originates in the same region, but typically affects those over 50. Medullary thyroid cancer forms in the C cells that produce calcitonin. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is rare, but grows rapidly and is difficult to treat. It usually occurs in people over the age of 60.

Tumors that develop in the throat, voice box, vocal cords or tonsils are referred to as throat cancer. People who smoke, use smokeless tobacco or drink alcohol are most at risk of developing this type of head and neck cancer.

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