Thursday, September 11, 2014
The Importance of the Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a system of the body that’s often overlooked. Yet, it plays an important role in the function of the immune system, aiding the body in fighting infection, diseases and more. Read on to learn more about this important system, how to keep it functioning properly and signs it’s not working.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system, also called the lymph system, is a system of the body composed of clear, watery fluid, called lymph.
How does the lymph system function?
By collecting fluid, debris and other things in the body’s tissue, the system helps the body fight against infection, viruses, bacteria and fungi. In addition, proper drainage of the lymphatic system prohibits swelling from occurring in the body. The system plays an important role in immune system function.
Where is the lymphatic system located?
The lymphatic system is located throughout the body. Organs that contain lymphoid tissue include:
• Lymph nodes
• Bone marrow
What are lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands located throughout the lymph system, which filter harmful substances from the body. They tend to cluster in regions throughout the body. Large clusters of lymph nodes are in the armpits, neck and groin areas. Swollen lymph nodes most often are a sign of infection. The most common reason for swollen lymph nodes in the neck is viral upper respiratory infections, typically associated with the common cold.
What diseases are associated with the lymphatic system?
According to www.kidshealth.org,
• Lymphadenopathy: A condition that causes swollen or enlarged lymph nodes due to a nearby infection. Throat infections, for instance, can cause swollen glands in the neck. The swelling usually subsides once the infection is properly treated.
• Lymphadenitis: This ailment is usually caused by a bacterial infection. The disorder is treated with antibiotics.
• Lymphomas: A type of cancer that starts in the lymph nodes.
• Splenomegaly: This disorder is also known as an enlarged spleen. It is typically caused by a viral infection such as mononucleosis. In rare cases, the cause is cancer.
• Tonsillitis: An infection of the tonsils, the lymph tissue in the back of the mouth at the top of the throat. It is usually associated with a sore throat, fever and difficulty swallowing. Repeated incidents of tonsillitis may require the removal of the tonsils, a tonsillectomy.
How can you keep the lymphatic system functioning properly?
Experts suggest exercise helps keep the lymph system working properly. In some instances, slant boards or inversion units are used. These devices allow you to hang upside down, stimulating the lymph system. Finally, a procedure called lymphatic drainage may be used in rare cases, such as for lymphedema.
What is lymphatic drainage?
Lymphatic drainage is a hands-on procedure, similar to massage, that encourages movement of stalled lymph in the body. As with any treatment, always speak to your health provider before undergoing lymphatic drainage.
Where can you learn more?
Visit www.cancer.org or www.training.seer.cancer.gov for additional information on this system.
Be Wize and Be Healthy