Lymph System

Written by Zachary Zerries
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Your lymph system is only one of many important systems in your body, i.e., the central nervous system, the digestive system, the blood system, etc.. The lymph system is basically responsible for flushing out any unwanted substances, like excess water and protein. Therefore, if something goes wrong and the lymph system malfunctions, your limbs will end up swelling.

Basic Information on the Lymph System

The lymph system is actually quite similar to the blood system in its use of vessels, but instead of blood, the lymph vessels contain lymph fluid. To move the fluid along, adjacent muscles and the outer walls of the veins contract. Many tiny little valves within the vessels also help keep the lymph fluid flowing smoothly.

These vessels, often called lymphatics, function like a drain: excess materials that accumulate in the body, i.e. protein, water, and sometimes foreign substances, are picked up by the lymph fluid and carried through these vessels. Eventually the lymph fluid is emptied into the blood at the back of the neck, but before that happens, the fluid must be filtered.

This is where the lymph nodes come into play. As the lymph flows through the lymph vessels, it occasionally encounters lymph nodes or lymph glands which filter the fluid and rid it of excess protein and foreign matter that had been picked up along the way. If there is bacteria or other harmful substances in the lymph, your lymph nodes will signal the body's immune system to react appropriately.


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