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There are many different types of throat disorders, many of which are very common. The throat, or pharynx, is an elongated tube that transports food into the esophagus where it is then carried into the stomach for digestion. It also helps to carry air to the trachea, or windpipe, and down to the lungs for breathing as well as into the larynx for speaking. Most people will have some type of throat disorder at some point. Disorders which affect the throat can range from a simple sore throat to an invasive throat infection or disease.
A sore throat, which is medically defined as pharyngitis, is generally the most common of all throat disorders. The disorder usually stems from inflammation, or swelling, in the throat. A sore throat may be caused by a virus, bacteria or an allergic reaction. Sometimes the cause of a sore throat can be as simple as dryness in the throat. Often, a mouth breather or a person who sleeps with his or her mouth open may frequently have a sore throat due to this reason.
Strep throat is also included in the list of common throat disorders. In most cases, strep throat is caused by streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, which may also be known as Group A streptococcus. This type of bacterial infection will generally cause a more significant degree of soreness in the throat than that experienced with pharyngitis. Individuals with strep throat frequently have other symptoms, such as a fever, headache, chills and often nausea. The throat may also appear extremely red and may have white patches as well.
Tonsillitis is another type of throat disorder. The tonsils which are situated at the back of the throat can become inflamed resulting in this illness. Tonsillitis can be caused by a virus and commonly by the same viruses that cause colds. It may also be caused by the same bacterias that cause strep throat. Individuals with tonsillitis may have a sore throat in addition to an ear ache and difficulty swallowing.
Throat disorders can also include different types of cancer of the throat. In general, throat cancer is commonly defined as cancer occurring in several areas of the throat, including the throat, the tonsils or the voice box. The cancer may occur from very small malignant cells or from a visible malignant lump in the throat. Any of the symptoms which occur with benign throat disorders may also be prevalent in individuals with throat cancer. In many cases, a biopsy will be needed to distinguish a malignant throat disorder from a benign one.
The larynx or voice box is located just below the throat. For this reason, disorders affecting this organ are commonly grouped with throat disorders. Laryngitis is a disorder that occurs from inflammation or swelling of the larynx. This disorder can cause soreness in the throat as well as extreme throat dryness. One of the most recognizable symptoms of laryngitis is hoarseness, and some people with this disorder nearly completely loose their speaking voice.