Just like your blood circulation system delivers nutrients and oxygen to every nook and cranny of your body, the lymphatic system is a bit like your body’s clean-up crew and defender against infections. It’s a network of vessels that snake through your entire body, helping to maintain balance and keep you healthy.
When things go wrong, it can prevent you from healing from chronic conditions, leave you with uncomfortable mystery symptoms, and cause disorders and even cancer.
The lymphatic system is like made up of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and lymph fluid. This fluid contains white blood cells, water, proteins, salts, and lipids, and it’s responsible for cleaning up after your body’s various processes. You might be familiar with some of the lymph nodes, like the ones under your armpits, in your groin, and in your neck. But there are others you can’t feel, hiding out in your abdomen, pelvis, and chest.
Think of the lymphatic system as your body’s drain cleaner, constantly working to scoop up and dispose of the waste left behind by other body systems.
Here are some of its major roles:
- Draining fluid: one of its main jobs is collecting extra fluid, especially lymph fluid, from around your body’s tissues and sending it back into your bloodstream. If it didn’t, you’d swell up like a balloon due to fluid buildup!
- Filtering lymph: as lymph flows through lymph nodes, white blood cells attack any sneaky bacteria or viruses they find. It’s the first line of defense against cancer too.
- Filtering blood: the lymphatic system helps your spleen swaps out old red blood cells for fresh ones produced in the bone marrow.
- Removing impurities: the lymphatic system helps flush out toxins and other junk from your body, like carbon dioxide, sodium, and waste products from your cells. All of these impurities exit through sweat, bowel movements, urine, and even your breath.
- Fighting infection: it’s also a main part of your immune system. The lymphatic system manufactures special white blood cells called lymphocytes, which produce antibodies that battle germs, bacteria, viruses, and fungi, helping you stay healthy.
When your lymphatic system isn’t functioning properly, it can put your health at risk. Here are a few things that can go wrong:
- Lymphedema: this causes chronic swelling in an arm or leg due to too much lymph fluid. It often crops up after cancer treatment.
- Lymphadenopathy: a fancy word for a simple concept—it’s when your lymph nodes get swollen or enlarged.
- Lymphoma: this is cancer that starts in the lymph nodes when lymphocytes begin multiplying out of control.
- Splenomegaly: when your spleen swells up, usually due to a viral infection.
Your lymphatic system is like the unsung hero of your body, quietly keeping everything in balance. It’s important to give it attention and keep it healthy– it helps all your other body systems function at their best.
To learn more about lymphatic health and things like:
- Connections between your gut, brain and lymphatic system
- How to get your lymph moving and create healthy immunity
- Ways to address chronic pain through the lymph system
- How to do your own lymphatic drainage for instant relief
- Simple approaches to transform your lymphatic health
- How toxic beauty impacts your lymphatic system
- 6 reasons your lymph gets stagnant
…consider joining our Lymphatic SOS & Rescue Summit. It includes eight masterclasses and three interviews with eleven lymphatic health experts to enlighten you about the role your lymphatic system could be playing in your journey towards health.