Lymph system (January 17, 2003)

The lymph system is most familiar to people because doctors and mothers often
check for "swollen lymph nodes" in the neck. It turns out that the lymph nodes
are just one part of a system that extends throughout your body in much the
same way your blood vessels do. The main difference between the blood flowing
in the circulatory system and the lymph flowing in the lymph system is that blood
is pressurized by the heart, while the lymph system is passive. There is no
"lymph pump" like there is a "blood pump" (the heart). Instead, fluids ooze into
the lymph system and get pushed by normal body and muscle motion to the
lymph nodes. This is very much like the water and sewer systems in a
community. Water is actively pressurized, while sewage is passive and flows by
gravity.

Lymph is a clearish liquid that bathes the cells with water and nutrients. Lymph
is blood plasma - the liquid that makes up blood minus the red and white cells.
Think about it - each cell does not have its own private blood vessel feeding it,
yet it has to get food, water, and oxygen to survive. Blood transfers these
materials to the lymph through the capillary walls, and lymph carries it to the
cells. The cells also produce proteins and waste products and the lymph
absorbs these products and carries them away. Any random bacteria that enter
the body also find their way into this inter-cell fluid. One job of the lymph system
is to drain and filter these fluids to detect and remove the bacteria. Small lymph
vessels collect the liquid and move it toward larger vessels so that the fluid
finally arrives at the lymph nodes for processing.

Lymph nodes contain filtering tissue and a large number of lymph cells. When
fighting certain bacterial infections, the lymph nodes swell with bacteria and the
cells fighting the bacteria, to the point where you can actually feel them. Swollen
lymph nodes are therefore a good indication that you have an infection of some
sort.

Once lymph has been filtered through the lymph nodes it re-enters the
bloodstream

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The above has been captured from Oma's archives and posted as it was found.
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