The Adam's apple is the thickening of a cartilage. Externally, it is especially visible in men and moves during speech or swallowing. In women, the enlargement can be felt.

What is the Adam's apple?

The Adam's apple is part of the thyroid cartilage. This is the largest cartilage in the throat. It is particularly prominent in males and can be located in the middle of the neck. The differentiation between the sexes comes about due to puberty and the hormones involved. Male sex hormones are responsible for the development of Adam's apple.

Women also have a certain level of specific hormones. The mirror, however, is lower than a man. As soon as the Adam's apple in the male development increasingly makes clear, it comes at the same time to the voice break. The basis for the change in the voice is the position of the vocal cords. These are lengthened as soon as the Adam's apple changes its size.

Anatomy & Construction

The Adam's apple is ultimately a part of the larynx dar. It consists of cartilaginous tissue. The larynx itself separates airways and trachea from each other. In this way, food particles do not penetrate the lungs during the meal, which would lead to serious consequences. The epiglottis is responsible for occlusion of the esophagus during swallowing. The anterior part of the larynx consists of the thyroid cartilage.

Here is also the starting point of the vocal cords. With the help of vibrations created by air currents, it is possible for humans to produce different sounds. During puberty, there is a total growth of the larynx. This emerges forward and thus forms the Adam's apple in men. The Adam's apple thus belongs to the secondary sexual characteristics of male adolescents. These signal through their training sexual maturity and also allow a differentiation between men and women.

Function & Tasks

The Adam's apple is responsible for the change of voice in the man. By attaching the vocal cords to the cartilage, enlargement of the larynx also affects the voice. Before the onset of puberty, the vocal cords have a length of about 12 millimeters. When the cartilaginous part of the larynx grows, the vocal cords also grow.

In the completed stage, a length of about 2.2 centimeters can be measured. This doubles the range of the vocal cords. Based on this change, differences in the tone of the voice between children and adults can be noted: the sounds sound deeper with advancing age. The growth of the vocal cords is not an even process. Instead, some vocal cords may take a little more time than others and are shorter at first. Based on these differences in length, boys in puberty usually experience a beeping in some situations.

The voice varies between that of a child and that of a man. It was this process that gave the voice break its name because the voice "breaks" literarily. The Adam's apple is thus responsible for changing the voice in men. Because there is no strong growth of cartilage in women, the spoken sounds are usually much higher. Nevertheless, sometimes an adam apple also forms in female adolescents. However, this has no function and is increasingly regarded as a blemish. It can develop, for example, in a hormonal disorder in which more male hormones are produced, as is the case with the PCO syndrome.

Diseases

Diseases of the Adam's apple are diseases that affect the larynx as a whole. These include, for example, malformations and tumors. A tumor can be manifested by a cancer of the larynx, which increasingly occurs in people who regularly consume tobacco. Throat cancer is one of the most common malignant tumors around the neck.

He can appear in different places. The majority of patients are over 50 years old and male. For example, a tumor makes itself known by a change in the voice. Sufferers often clear the throat, have a chronic cough, or produce harsh sounds. Furthermore, patients report difficulty in swallowing and a foreign body sensation. In addition, inflammation can spread in the larynx. Such a phenomenon develops especially when there is an infection of the respiratory tract. In most cases the pathogen is a virus.

The inflammation can be acute or chronic and should always be treated to avoid further consequences. As a rule, acute inflammation heals without leaving any secondary damage. However, sparing the voice is considered to be fundamental to successful therapy. In addition to bacteria and viruses, the inflammation can be triggered by a mechanical stimulus. This arises, for example, when the voice is used intensively over a certain period of time. Especially through screaming and loud talking there is an irritation of the larynx and thus of the Adam's apple.

If underneath the Adam's apple a strong swelling is observed, which has apparently developed groundlessly and does not disappear, there may be thyroid disease, such as a goiter. This increases only slowly in size and is thus often diagnosed relatively late.

Typical & common laryngeal diseases

  • Laryngitis
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Epiglottitis (epiglottis)
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