Interesting Facts about Lymphatic System

  • Lymphatic system works in coordination and collaboration with the lymphatic system , immune system and cardiovascular system.
  • Because of its circulatory role in the body, it is also considered as an essential part of the circulatory system, where the former cannot be separated from the latter and vice versa.
  • The interstitial fluid that flows through the network of lymphatic capillaries, vessels, ducts and nodes may be termed as tissue fluid, lymphatic fluid or simply lymph.
  • The right lymphatic duct measures only about 1.25 centimeter (cm) in length, while the thoracic duct may measure as long as 45 cm.
  • The most important parts of this accessory circulatory mechanism are: lymph, lymph nodes, capillaries, ducts and vessels, where the first one is the fluid and all the others contribute to the formation of the network of interconnected tubes or channels.
  • It is quite surprising to note that spleen is an accessory organ of the lymphatic system that plays an important role in its disease fighting abilities.
  • With the help of this system, your body not only gets rid of the extra fluid, produced therein, but also fights against various fatal diseases by killing the germs and harmful substances.
  • There are two major types of white blood cells (WBCs or lymphocytes), namely, T-Lymphocytes and B-Lymphocytes, which are also termed as T-Cells and B-Cells, respectively.
  • When your body cells get infested with viruses and some other fatal microbes, the T-cells come into action and destroy them.
  • In case of pathogenic bacteria, B-cells are assigned the job to deal with them.
  • Any damage to the bone marrow might result in serious decline in the immunity level of your body? This is simply because, the bone marrow is the place where white blood cells are generated and are transported to the lymph nodes for their action against the disease causing agents.
  • Ranging from 500 to 700 hundred in number, the lymph nodes are the small organs which compose the lymphatic system.
  • In certain organs of your body, such as, groin, neck and underarms, the lymph nodes are found in large number.
  • The first person to describe the working of lymphatic system was a physician from Denmark, Thomas Bartholin, who published his study in mid 17th century, i.e. 1652.
  • Olaus Rudbeck, a Swedish scientist, is also credited with the independent discovery of lymphatic system in the same period, i.e. 17th century.
  • It is interesting to know that unlike blood circulatory system, your lymphatic system does not possess any pumping organ for the movement of lymph through its network of channels.
  • The smooth movement of fluids, in this system, is assisted by the pressure created by the muscle movement and the heartbeat.
  • The first ever reference of the lymph circulation can be found in the research work of Hippocrates titled "On Joints".
  • Did you ever experience the swelling of lymph nodes? Yes such a condition occurs when disease causing agents (germs) are trapped at these check posts and the white blood cells are busy in fighting against them.
  • Found in the abdominal cavity, just behind the stomach, spleen is one of the secondary lymphoid organs.
  • Do you know that spleen can even be removed from the body without jeopardizing your life, because this large lymph node-like structure just acts as a blood filter?
  • Providing an inductive environment for the development process of T-lymphocyte cells, thymus gland can be divided into four distinct parts, namely, medulla, cortex and two identical lobes.
  • There are a number of mild, slowly progressing, serious and even fatal diseases which attack the lymphatic system and disturb its structure and function.
  • Lymphocyte or lymphoid leukemia involves the diagnostic symptoms of night sweats, fever, weight loss, fatigue and enlargement of lymph nodes.
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma is an abnormal and uncontrolled (cancerous) growth of the lymph nodes due to the proliferation of the same type of cells, which may even spread to other parts of the body, such as lungs, liver and bone marrow.
  • The castleman's disease of the lymphatic system may be either unicentric or multicentric, that is, it affects either one lymph node or may systematically spread to other nodes, respectively.
  • The accurate and timely diagnosis followed by an effective treatment measure may lead to an early and timely cure of various lymphatic system diseases.
  • In some cases, the lymphatic system diseases may even go ignored or unnoticed even for many years!
  • Some of the disorders can be treated with medications, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, while the others require amputation of the affected organ.

About the Author

Posted by: M. Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar (NCBA&E University, Lahore), M. Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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