WHAT IS LYMPHATIC SYSTEM?
It is a system of thin tubes that runs
throughout the body.
It is like the blood circulation – the
tubes (vessels) branch through all the
parts of the body like the arteries and
veins that carry blood.
WHAT IS LYMPH?
Comes from the Latin word “lympha”,
meaning “clear water”
It is a clear fluid that circulates around
the body tissues
It contains a high number of
lymphocytes (white blood cells)
Plasma leaks out of the capillaries to surround
and bathe the body tissues and drains into the
The lymph, flows through the lymphatic system
to the biggest lymph vessel – the thoracic duct.
The thoracic duct then empties back into the
2 Fluid destinations of the lymph:
1. Blood stream/capillary walls
2. Intercellular spaces – lymph are collected in the open
ended lymphatic system then collected into the lymph
lymph in only
one direction –
to the heart.
vessels are called
Are lymph that travels through the
lymph vessels that are filtered through
masses of tissues.
They are concentrated in the following areas:
3. Inner elbow
These nodes range in size from
microscopic to just under 1 inch (2.5
cm) in length.
Between 500 and 1,500 lymph nodes
are located in the body; most of them
usually occur in clusters.
Lymph nodes that you cannot feel in:
Lymphatic System includes other body
FUNCTIONS OF LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
Drains fluid back into the bloodstream
from the tissues
Filters the blood
Fluid will be
to the base of
it is emptied
The lymph nodes filter the lymph fluid
as it passes through. White blood cells attack
any bacteria or viruses they find in the lymph
as it flows through the lymph nodes. If cancer
cells breakaway from a tumor, they often
become stuck in the nearest lymph nodes.
This is why doctors check lymph nodes first
when they are working out how far a cancer
has grown or spread.
FILTERING THE BLOOD
This is the job of the spleen. It filters the
blood to take out all the old worn out red
blood cells and then destroys them. They are
replaced by new red blood cells that are made
in the bone marrow. The spleen also filters
out bacteria, viruses and other foreign
particles found in the blood. White blood
cells in the spleen attack bacteria and viruses
as they pass through.
Helping to make special white blood
cells (lymphocytes) that produce
Having other blood cells called
macrophages inside the lymph nodes
which swallow up and kill any foreign
particles, for example germs.
DISEASES THAT CAN IMPAIR
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome): a
disorder caused by a virus (HIV) that infects
helper T cells and weakens immune response.
ALLERGY: an abnormal immune reaction to an
otherwise harmless substance
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE: condition in which the
body produces antibodies that attack and destroy
the body’s own tissues.
GRAVES’ DISEASE: disorder in which an antibody
binds to specific cells in the thyroid gland, forcing
them to secrete excess thyroid hormone.
(HIV) Human Immunodeficiency Virus: which
infects helper T cells and weakens immune
responses, leading to the severe AIDS disorder
LYMPHADENITIS: inflammation of lymph
LYMPHOMA: general term applied to cancers of
the lymphatic system, which include Hodgkin’s
lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: disorder in which
immune cells attack and destroy the insulation
covering nerve fibers in the central nervous
system, causing muscular weakness and loss of
also called lupus or SLE disorder,
disorder in which antibodies attack the
body’s own tissues as if they were
TONSILITIS: infection and swelling of