The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. The lymphatic system primarily consists of lymphatic vessels, which are similar to the circulatory system’s veins and capillaries. The vessels are connected to lymph nodes, where the lymph is filtered. The tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system.
- The spleen: acts as a blood filter; it controls the amount of red blood cells and blood storage in the body, and helps to fight infection. The spleen creates lymphocytes (white blood cells) if it detects potentially dangerous bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms in the blood. These white blood cells produce antibodies to kill the foreign microorganisms and stop infections from spreading. Humans without a spleen are more prone to infections.
- Tonsils: large clusters of lymphatic cells found in the pharynx and are the body’s “first line of defense as part of the immune system. They sample bacteria and viruses that enter the body through the mouth or nose.” They sometimes become infected and tonsillectomies are still among the most common operations performed and typically follows frequent throat infections.
Lymph is a clear and colorless fluid; from the Latin word lympha, which means “connected to water.”
After plasma delivers its nutrients and removed debris, it leaves the body’s cells. Most of this fluid returns to the venous circulation and the remainder becomes lymph. Lymph flows in only one direction, upward toward the neck, as opposed to blood which flows throughout the body in a continue loop. The fluid re-enters the circulatory system after it connects to two subclavian veins, located on either side of the neck.
Diseases of the Lymphatic System:
- Lymphadenopathy – enlargement of the lymph nodes
Usually caused by infection, inflammation, or cancer
- Infections: strep throat, locally infected skin wounds, or viral infections such as mononucleosis or HIV
- Lymphedema – swelling due to lymph node blockage
- Lymphoma – cancer of the lymph nodes – occurs when lymphocytes grow and multiply uncontrollably. The removal of lymph nodes can cause complications such as the lymphatic flow back to the heart causing swelling (lymphedema). Modern surgical techniques are allowing for fewer lymph nodes to be removed, fortunately, and thus fewer cases of sever lymphedema for breast cancers.
- Castleman disease: a group of inflammatory disorders that cause lymph node enlargement and can result in multiple-organ dysfunction.
- Lymphangiomatosis: a disease involving multiple cysts or lesions formed from lymphatic vessels.
Symptoms of lymphatic disorders: swelling of the arm or groin, weight loss, fever and night sweats
Symptoms and their Emotions
- Lymph problems: A warning that the mind needs to be recentered on the essentials of life. Love and joy.
- Mononucleosis: Anger at not receiving love and appreciation. No longer caring for the self.
- Spleen: Obsessions. Being obsessed about things.