What is the lymphatic system? How does is help your body and what happens once it becomes disrupted?
Your venous system is very noticeable. If you are a lean-to muscular person, you can probably feel your veins protrude from your skin. If you are a very pale or fair individual, there’s a chance you may even be able to see your veins at the translucent parts of your skin. But there is another system that is equally important in your body that runs parallel to your venous system, the lymphatic system.
What is the lymphatic system? It is a subsystem of the circulatory system in the vertebrate body that consists of a complex network of vessels, tissues, and organs. What exactly is the function of the lymphatic system, what does it do? It helps maintain the balance of fluid in the body by collecting excess fluid and particulate matter from tissues and depositing them in the bloodstream. It also helps defend the body against infection by supplying disease-fighting cells called lymphocytes.
The lymphatic system fights infection by transporting a watery clear fluid full of proteins and lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are cells that specifically fight infections. Lymph fluid is clearish yellow to sometimes milky white in color, depending on where it is in the lymph system and how concentrated the lymph fluid is. The lymphatic system also absorbs lipids from the intestine and transports them to the blood.
Lymph nodes are usually small, round structures that play a vital role in the body’s immune system. The average person has 500 to 700 lymph nodes spread throughout their body with the heaviest population of them found towards the core. There are also a concentration of lymph nodes in the armpit and groin regions, around 100 of them in each of these areas. Lymph node swelling is often a sign of infection. Swollen lymph nodes can sometimes be caused by the presence of cancer in the body. Cancer of the lymph nodes is extremely deadly.
Disruption of the lymphatic system can also cause Lymphedema. This disruption can lead to swelling, which causes damage to the tissues around the affected area. The body’s natural reaction is to send defense cells to the damaged area, which leads to further disruption, inhibiting fluid flow. This cause not only swelling of the lymph nodes, but also swelling of extremities and water retention.
By: Alexandria Addesso