LYMPHATIC                           HEALTHCARE                                                      and EDUCATION


Understanding the Lymphatic System

The Lymphatic System comprises:
  • The spleen and thymus gland
  • Lymphatic capillaries, lymph vessels and ducts
  • Lymph nodes (they are not glands as they do not secrete)
  • Lymphocytes are white blood cells for immune purposes, T Cells and B Cells
  • Palatine tonsils and tonsils
  • Peyer`s patches in the ileum of the small intestine


We are 70% Water. When waste fluid is collected from between the cells by the lymphatic system, it is then known as lymph fluid. From all over the body the waste lymph fluid has been carried along through capillaries and vessels, cleaned by the lymph nodes, similar to your household water pipes.


Clean waste fluid then travels up towards the largest lymphatic vessel called the Thoracic Duct.  This duct lies next to your spine; it passes up through the diaphragm and enters into the blood circulation via a large vein, just above the heart. The lymph fluid now mixes back into our blood. Our body can collect, clean and filter up to 2.5 litres per day. 

Why stress really is so bad for you!

Functions of the Spleen

  • Produces lymphocytes (WBC) in its lymph nodules and acts with the immune response.
  • Destroys worn out erythrocytes (RBC) and unwanted micro-organisms.
  • Controls the quality and quantity of the blood in circulation.
  • It acts as a reservoir for blood cells of all kinds.
  • It produces erythrocytes and granulocytes during foetal life and on certain. occasions in adult life i.e. after severe haemorrhaging.

Splenic Anoxic Stress is Toxic to our body!

Stress directly effects the spleen and protein levels in the lymphatic system which effects your heart rate and blood pressure. During stress the spleen releases extra blood into the circulation and an extra protein called p34, which is a distinct Lactate DeHydrogenase (or LDH or LD). 


LD is of medical significance because it is found extensively in body tissues, such as blood cells and heart muscle, as with other proteins it is used as a tissue-fuction marker as it is released during tissue damage and is a marker of common injuries and disease. This protein has been found in high levels in many human cancers and has been demonstrated to be an effective serum cancer marker. (Lymhoscintography)




LD activity is present in all cells of the body with highest concentrations in heart, liver, muscle, kidney, lung, and erythrocytes it is elevated in a number of clinical conditions including cardiorespiratory diseases, malignancy, hemolysis, and disorders of the liver, kidneys, lung, and muscle.

Marked elevations can be observed in megaloblastic anemia, untreated pernicious anemia, Hodgkin disease, abdominal and lung cancers, severe shock and hypoxia.

Moderate-to-slight increases in LD levels are seen in myocardial infarction (MI), pulmonary infarction, pulmonary embolism, leukemia, hemolytic anemia, infectious mononucleosis, progressive muscular dystrophy (especially in the early and middle stages of the disease), liver disease and renal disease.

In liver disease, elevations of LD are not as great as the increases in aspartate amino transferase and alanine aminotransferase.



The Thymus


  • A large lobed structure behind the upper part of the sternum.
  • Largest in early life it shrinks in adulthood to a fraction of it`s original size.
  • It secretes a hormone called Thymosin that causes pre-T-cells to mature in the Thymus into T-cells, these are also called T Lymphocytes.
  • Many lymphocytes are formed here but most never leave the gland.


In the foetus and infant the thymus seems to control the development of the lymph nodes and lymphoid tissue. If it is absent, death will result because of the failure of the immune processes. In adults it is a source of fresh lymphocytes for immunologic imprinting. After heavy irradiation the bone marrow and lymphoid tissue are severely depressed, sometimes temporarily abolished, but the thymus is more resistant and controls restoration of lymphocyte production and cellular immunity. 


Lymph fluid moves naturally by

  • muscle tissue and bicuspid valves
  • autonomic nervous system
  • intrinsic contraction

Additional factors

  • contraction of muscles
  • breathing (diaphragm)
  • pulsation of arteries
  • external compression


Lymph Capillaries underneath skin are tiny compared to vessels

Lymph Vessels and how Lymph moves through the system


  • Resemble veins in structure but have thinner walls and valves in shorter distances.
  • Valves are passive and determine direction of flow, preventing the return of fluid and to guarantee transport.
  • Vessel contractions are supported by skeletal muscle and joint pump, arterial respiratory pressure changes and negative pressure in central veins. They can also be influenced by external pressure i.e. massage.

Shoulder muscles help pump fluid up and away from your hand, so it is essential to get your muscles moving post operatively.


FUNCTIONS of a Lymph Node


  • Filters and cleans lymph fluid by removing unwanted metabolic waste, toxins, bacteria, viruses, micro-organisms, infected cells and other foreign particles from the body. 
  • Produces new lymphocytes helping the lymphatic system fight infection, often preventing infection from passing into the blood.
  • Regulates concentration of protein in the lymph fluid.


There are between 700 – 1,000 nodes in the human body 3-500 can be found in the abdomen. Excessive swelling of the abdomen means these lymph nodes are struggling to remove waste fluid.



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