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Lymphatic System: Meaning, Function and Disease

What is the Lymphatic System?

Windowofworld.com – The lymphatic system or known as the lymph system is an important part of the immune system or the body’s immunity. The lymphatic system plays a role in producing, storing and carrying white blood cells to fight infections, and other diseases.

The lymphatic system consists of several organs that have their respective functions in supporting the body’s immunity. When the function of the lymphatic systems is disrupted, the body will become more susceptible to disease because the body’s immune systems is affected too.

Functions and Organs of the Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system has a variety of functions for the body, here are some main functions:

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  1. Fight the cause of infection.
  2. Deal with cancer cells.
  3. Deal with cell production that might cause disease or disorder.
  4. Regulate body fluid balance.
  5. Absorbs some food fat in the intestine.

Organs of the lymphatic system consist of the spinal cord, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, lymph fluid, and lymph vessels. In humans, the spinal cord and the thymus gland are key ingredients in immune function. All lymphocytes originate from stem cells in the spinal cord. Damage to this organ can have very bad effects on the immune system.

The spleen acts to filter and monitor blood in the body. In addition, the spleen also plays a role in producing and storing many cells, including various white blood cells that are important as immunity.

Meanwhile, the thymus gland acts as a producer of cells called T cell lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are part of white blood cells that are very important in providing an immune response, especially when experiencing an infection. Lymph nodes and lymph vessels also have great immunity benefits.

Lymph fluid functions in transporting foreign substances that are considered dangerous by the body, such as bacteria, cancer cells, dead or damaged cells, to be filtered by lymph nodes. Remaining substances that are considered dangerous will be resisted by lymphocytes and their supporting substances, then discarded by the body.

Various Lymphatic System Disorders

There are several main factors that can cause disruption in the lymphatic system, including:

1. Infection

Both viral and bacterial infections, will trigger resistance from the immune system, including those in the lymph nodes. Under certain conditions, this reaction causes inflammation of the lymph nodes or lymphadenitis, which can be characterized by swollen lymph nodes.

2. Cancer

The presence of a tumor can obstruct the lymphatic channels to the lymph nodes which interfere with the flow of lymph fluid. Cancer that appears in the lymphatic system is known as lymphoma. When lymphocyte cells in the lymphatic systems are attacked by cancer cells, the immune systems will decrease.

3. Blockage (obstruction)

Obstruction in the lymphatic systems causes a buildup of fluid (lymphedema). Obstruction can be caused by the formation of scar tissue due to damage to lymph vessels, for example due to radiotherapy, injury, infection, or surgical removal of lymph nodes. The scar tissue will obstruct or block the flow of lymph fluid and cause swelling of organs.

The lymphatic system is very important for the body’s immunity against various infections and diseases. If you experience health problems that may be related to the lymphatic systems, you should immediately consult a doctor to get the right treatment.

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