Functions of the lymphatic system - Gafacom (For health. For knowledge)

Functions of the lymphatic system

There are 3 functions of the lymphatic system

gafacom image - Functions of the lymphatic system
1.The draining of interstitial fluid - this starts at the very extremities of the lymphatic system the capillaries are designed to absorb the fluids in the tissues which they then carry through the lymphatic system moving from the capillaries to the lymphatics (lymph vessels) and then into the lymph nodes. The lymph is filtered through the nodes and out the efferent lymphatics. From there the lymph passes into the lymphatic trunks and eventually into the lymphatic ducts. At this point the lymph is passed back into the blood supply where its journey starts again.

2.            Fighting infection – while the capillaries of the lymph collect interstitial fluids they also pick up other things such as viruses and bacteria, these are carried along in the lymph until they reach the lymph node which sets to work destroying them using various methods. 
Firstly the macrophages cells ingest bacteria, this is known as phagocytosis
Secondly lymphocytes cells produce antibodies, this is known as immune response. These processes will hopefully deal with all infections that travel through the lymph but the lymphatic system does not leave it there. Some of the Lymphocyte cells will leave the node by travelling in the lymph and entering the blood when the lymph rejoins it, this allows it to deal with infections in other tissues. 
This isn’t the only area were the fight takes place, the spleen also filters the blood in a similar fashion as a node would filter lymph, B and T cells that have migrated from the red bone marrow and have matured in the spleen (there are 3 types of T cell one is amazing it is  a memory T cell and can recognise pathogens that have entered the body before and deal with them much quicker, the other T cells are called helper and cytotoxic) carry out immune functions while the spleens macrophages cells destroys blood borne pathogens by phagocytosis. 
There are lymphatic nodules such as the tonsils guarding against bacterial infection using lymphocytes cells.

 The thymus gland matures cells produced in the red bone marrow these mature cells then migrate to lymphatic tissues such as the tonsils were they colonise the area and set about fighting of infection[1].  Red bone marrow produces B and T cells which migrate to other areas of the lymph system to help in the immune response.
3.            Transporting lipids – The network of capillaries and vessels also transport lipids and lipid soluble vitamins A,D,E and K to the blood, causing the lymph to turn a creamy colour. The lipids and vitamins are absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract[1]  from foods and are collected by the lymph as it travels through taking it to the blood.   
Without a lymphatic system we would be in trouble very quickly, having problems with a lot of illnesses and before very long death. The tissues of the body would very quickly become bogged down with fluid and debris making us very swollen. 

We would also miss out on vitamins required. From a massage therapist point of view it is good to understand how the system works and the fact we could have some benefit on it by helping to encourage the flow, and knowing which way the flow travels and where the main lymph node sites are to drain to.

Functions of the lymphatic system Functions of the lymphatic system Reviewed by gafacom on June 03, 2019 Rating: 5

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