The Lymphatic System

The Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that picks up excess fluid from the tissues and returns the fluid to the bloodstream near the heart
It is normal for fluid to leak out from blood vessels.   The fluid leaks out to surround the cells, pick up dead cells, cancer cells, viruses, bacteria and other waste.

Most of the fluid that leaks out from blood vessels moves back into the bloodstream.  The lymph vessels pick up larger particles, like proteins, that are to big to re-enter the blood stream.

Lymphatics diagram .jpgLymph moves along through changes in fluid pressures, body movement, breathing and a one way valve system.
As lymph moves along, it is filtered through thousands of bean shaped lymph nodes.  Foreign particles, like bacteria, are filtered out and white cells that give immunity are present in the lymph nodes.
Lymph moves at about 120 mls per hour (depending on movement).  Usually 2-4 litres of lymph per day are moved around the body. 

Lymph vessels can expand enormously  but usually carry only about one-tenth their maximum load.  When the lymph load is too great, swelling occurs.

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