Updated: Dec 28, 2019
Designed to be constantly on the move.
Major lymph node-bearing areas include the neck, chest, abdomen and, importantly, the axilla (underarm) and groin. When the lymphatic system is damaged, then swelling (edema) or lymphedema results from an accumulation of the protein- and particle-rich fluid within the body’s tissues human circulatory system is made up of two interacting but closed systems: the arterial-venous blood system and the lymphatic system. Blood Plasma pumped from the heart to tissues leaks through the thin walls of the capillaries into the interstitial space of the skin. This leaked blood plasma is then called interstitial or extracellular fluid that carries with it nutrients for the tissue cells. Most of this fluid seeps immediately back into the bloodstream but a percentage is taken up by a network of lymph capillaries. The interstitial fluid along with debris enters the lymph vessels; it is then referred to as ‘lymph fluid’.
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The lymph fluid containing cellular debris, proteins, fats, fluids and other toxins as well as bacteria, and viruses drains into larger vessels called lymphatics via lymph nodes that remove foreign materials such as infectious microorganisms from the lymph fluid filtering through them.
In this way, the role of the lymphatic system is to direct lymph fluid from distant tissues (skin, muscles, visceral organs, lung, and intestine) to the lymph nodes thus preventing a fluid imbalance that would result in the organism’s death and as the first line of defence for the immune system.
Major lymph node-bearing areas include the neck, chest, abdomen and, importantly, the axilla (underarm) and groin. When the lymphatic system is damaged, then swelling (edema) or lymphedema results from an accumulation of the protein- and particle-rich fluid within the body’s tissues
The larger vessels (lymphatics) converge to form one of two larger vessels called lymphatic trunks which are connected to veins at the base of the neck where the lymph fluid is separated for either recycling back into the blood system or for elimination from the body.
The right lymphatic duct drains lymph from the upper right quadrant (dark blue) of the body into the right subclavian vein. The thoracic duct drains lymph from the rest of the body (yellow) into the left subclavian vein. The lymphatic fluid is thus returned to the systemic blood just before entering the heart.