Human Lymphatic system: Structure, Function and Organs

The Human Lymphatic system is one of the most complex and at the same time important components of the human body. It is on her that safety and health directly depend because the lymphatic system is the first to meet pathogenic microorganisms and give them a rebuff. With proper operation, such a “filter” is able to resist bacteria, viruses, and other foreign negative factors that undermine human health.

In addition, the lymphatic system is a point of removal of poisons, toxic compounds, and decay products, especially in the presence of an infectious process. In fact, the strength and development of a person’s immunity depend on this function: the healthier and more complete his lymphatic system, the better it resists pathogens and faster copes with foreign substances that still could seep into the body.

That is why the anatomy of the human lymphatic system is one of the most significant sections in the study of the body. A small medical education program will allow you to understand the features of the structure and functions of the lymphatic system, which, in turn, will help strengthen the immune system, maintain health and avoid all kinds of ailments.

The structure of the human lymphatic system

In the Human Lymphatic system, The set of organs that produce lymphocytes (cells that are subsequently capable of producing antigens) and their accumulation, as well as special nodes and vessels, is called the lymphatic system. This part of the body is directly connected with the bloodstream and is almost everywhere adjacent to the arteriovenous network, with the exception of the brain, spinal cord, and eyeball – there is no lymph flow in these organs.

Due to the vessels and nodes of the lymphatic system, tissue fluid and special proteins located in the intercellular space are transported into the bloodstream. This fluid, which has not yet entered the bloodstream and is trapped in the lymphatic vessels, is called lymph. How does the lymph flow occur and the immune response is formed? The answer to this question lies in the peculiarities of the anatomy of the human lymphatic system.

The special structure of organs and their specific functionality excludes the possibility of penetration of pathogens, however, such a process proceeds without interruption only if each element clearly performs the function assigned to it.

Human Lymphatic system: Structure, Function and Organs

Organs of the human lymphatic system

Structurally, the lymphatic system consists of elements such as:

  • lymphatic network (trunks, vessels, capillaries) – elastic tubes through which lymph is transported throughout the body;
  • lymph nodes – special formations located throughout the body and are responsible for the primary filtration of pathogens;
  • lymphatic ducts that flow directly into the bloodstream;
  • organs of the lymphatic system – spleen, thymus, tonsils – where the body’s immune cells are formed;
  • lymph is a special fluid that circulates through the vessels of the lymphatic system.

The composition of the lymph is rich in:

  • lymphocytes, the number of which can reach more than 8 * 109 cells per 1 liter;
  • single erythrocytes, the number of which multiplies exponentially with injuries;
  • granulocytes (with infectious processes of various localization);
  • proteins, lipids, amino acids, glycerol, glucose, electrolytes and other compounds that form an ionic lymphatic set;
  • cholesterol and phospholipids, which are usually presented in the lymph by lipoproteins; their concentration may vary depending on the type and regularity of the diet (the more the fatty component of the diet, the higher the percentage of lipoproteins in the lymph).

As for the concentration of protein compounds, it directly depends on the rate of lymphatic synthesis. If a person drinks enough liquid, the concentration of proteins in the lymph is optimal, but when the water balance changes, this indicator changes dramatically.

So, with a lack of water in the body, the amount of lymph decreases sharply, which means that the percentage of protein molecules increases. And vice versa: the more fluid enters the digestive tract and, accordingly, into the body, the lower the concentration of protein lymphatic formations.

Human lymphatic system: scheme of lymph movement

Human Lymphatic system, Lymphatic flow is strictly coordinated by the features of the anatomy of the human lymphatic system: even a slight change in this case can lead to irreversible consequences. Normally, lymph flows along the bed from the bottom up, that is, from the smallest capillaries to large ducts, and only in this direction, while the reverse flow of lymph is a serious pathology and is normally impossible in principle.

Human Lymphatic system: Structure, Function and Organs

Lymphatic capillaries are the smallest units of the lymphatic system, they begin the cycle of lymph flow. On the one hand, they have a closed end, on the other, they flow into the larger capillaries and vessels of the lymphatic bed. The capillary walls have a very thin, almost transparent structure, due to which liquid and larger protein molecules can freely seep inside, which distinguishes them from blood capillaries, which do not have such a high throughput.

Lymphatic vessels are larger tubes that carry lymph from the capillaries to the trunks. Their structure is somewhat reminiscent of the veins of the circulatory system, however, as in the case of capillaries, the walls of the lymphatic vessels are thinner. In addition, these vessels contain a large number of tightly closing valves that prevent lymph from flowing in the opposite direction.

Lymphatic Vessels

On the way from the capillaries to the trunks, the lymph enters the lymph nodes located along the vessels. Such formations are divided into groups depending on localization. As a rule, each lymph node looks like a small spherical or oval formation of about 2 cm in diameter, into which several vessels fall, and only 1-2 emerge. It is here that the main filtration of lymph takes place – foreign bodies are separated and lymphocytes are produced when pathogens are detected.

Moving away from the lymph nodes, the outflowing vessels gradually flow into 2 key trunks of the lymphatic system, as a result of which the same number of ducts is formed – thoracic and right:

  • The thoracic lymphatic duct begins in the capillaries of the left hand, the left side of the head and internal organs located below the costal line. Its end point is the left subclavian vein.
  • The right lymphatic duct, respectively, starts from the right arm, the right half of the head and chest and flows into the right subclavian vein.

In the circulatory system and liver cells, the immune processes that began in the lymph nodes are completed, as a result of which the main pathogens are neutralized, and toxins and poisons are removed from the body. In addition to the immune response, in this way, most of the fluid is transferred from tissue cells and interstitial spaces to the bloodstream.

The driving force of the lymph flow directly depends on the physiology and anatomy of the human lymphatic system:

  • The different diameters of the tubes of the lymphatic system, starting with the smallest capillaries and ending with large ducts, provide a tangible difference in hydrostatic pressure, which raises the lymph: if at the initial stage of the channel, the pressure is from 2 to 5 mm Hg. Art., then closer to the ducts, this figure gradually approaches zero.
  • The vascular walls of the human lymphatic system include smooth muscle cells capable of alternating contraction and relaxation. Thanks to this, the lymph can move towards the duct.
  • The contraction of the muscle fibers surrounding the lymphatic vessels periodically increases the pressure within the lymphatic system, which increases the rate of fluid flow.

Any failure, blockage and other violation lead not only to the onset of the disease against the background of reduced immunity, but also to tissue edema up to the formation of a non-malignant tumor.

Lymphatic System

How does the human lymphatic system work?

Human Lymphatic system, The role of the body’s lymphatic system is primarily in resisting negative factors of the external environment, protection from destructive external influences and filtration of pathogenic and toxic units that somehow penetrated into the internal environment of the human body. The human lymphatic system performs functions, without which it is inconceivable to maintain the health and vitality of the body, its full functionality and optimal well-being. These functions:

  1. Protective. This function is provided thanks to the lymphoid tissue of the lymph nodes, which is able to synthesize the primary cells of the immune response – lymphocytes, phagocytes and antibodies. The effectiveness of this reaction directly depends on whether the pathogen can harm human health, whether the disease will develop against this background and how difficult it will be.
  2. Filtration. Another function that depends on the activity of the lymph nodes. It consists in mechanical filtration of foreign objects that somehow penetrated the lymph flow. This is how foreign substances, toxins, bacteria and other units alien to the internal environment of a person are retained.
  3. Humoral. The anatomy of the human lymphatic system covers more than 90% of the body, which allows signaling molecules to be transmitted to all organs and tissues. Such humoral connections allow the synthesis of the amount of biologically active components necessary for the immune response in time.
  4. Transport. Thanks to the lymph flow, fluid and other compounds are transported that physiologically cannot immediately enter the bloodstream. A particularly significant role in this process is played by the delivery of lipids to the blood, which enter the lymph in the intestine. In addition, due to the flow of lymph, albumin molecules that have entered the intercellular fluid from other blood capillaries with a high histohematogenous barrier return to the blood. On average, about 100 grams of protein compounds are returned with lymph per day, without which the body’s losses would be irreparable.
  5. Homeostasis. The normal functioning of the lymphatic system provides adequate indicators of the composition and volume of the interstitial body fluid.
  6. Drainage. With the flow of lymph, excess fluid is removed from the tissues, which is the prevention of edema and tumors. During normal functioning of the lymphatic system, such a function seems insignificant – its role becomes especially noticeable when the drainage process is disturbed, as a result of which a significant tissue edema is formed up to limiting motor capabilities.

Lymph cleansing points

Human Lymphatic system, Not only the excretory and digestive systems are able to excrete useless and toxic compounds and decay products contained in the body – the anatomy of the human lymphatic system includes as many as six sites, which in one way or another allow you to get rid of foreign and pathogenic molecules. These include:

1. The vagina in women and the urethra in men

As a rule, any pathogenic microorganism that has penetrated into the internal environment of the human body affects the composition of the secretion secreted by the genitourinary system. And if in women this condition is usually accompanied by abundant discharge, then men have much more difficult – they have itching, burning and sharp pain when urinating to unpleasant but painless discharge.

At the same time, this function of the body is more protective than symptomatic and does not require special treatment. Together with abundant secretions, pathogenic microorganisms and other components that have already been attacked by the body’s immune system come out. Reducing the secretion of these secretions means disrupting the natural outflow of pathogens, trapping them inside the body. It is much more logical and effective in this case to direct treatment to the source of the problem that caused such a reaction.

2. Gastrointestinal tract

Through the intestines, not only residual food components are removed from the body, but also toxic substances that have entered the body from the outside and filtered by the lymphatic system. The walls of the gastrointestinal tract contain a large number of lymph nodes, in which the main stages of filtration of foreign components take place. Through their ducts, these toxins and their compounds enter the intestines, from where they are safely evacuated with feces.

3. Sweat glands

With sweat, unnecessary hormonal compounds, toxins, waste products of pathogenic microorganisms, and other substances are released through the skin, an excess of which will sooner or later lead to severe intoxication. The anatomy of the human lymphatic system is thought out in such a way as to speed up and facilitate the process of excretion of these compounds as much as possible, however, an ill-considered choice of cosmetics can nullify all the efforts of the body.

Buying an antiperspirant deodorant with 24-hour protection against perspiration, you block the outflow of toxic substances for the whole day, which are forced to settle in tissues and organs, causing intoxication symptoms. After that, the cycle repeats: new irrigation with modern perfume, of course, protects against unpleasant odor and sweat stains, but at the same time completely blocks the possibility of self-cleaning of the lymphatic system.

That is why experienced dermatologists do not recommend such cosmetic products for everyday use, while careful hygiene and light, environmentally friendly perfumery can protect from the repulsive amber many times better and at the same time not harm the state of health.

4. Nose

The nasal cavity is another part of the body that is rich in lymphatic formations. This department is primarily responsible for resisting airborne infections that enter with the inhaled air. The abundant secretion of mucus in this case is a protective reaction of the body, and not an unpleasant symptom of a cold, therefore, as in the case of secretions from the genitourinary system, you should not try to dry them – this will only aggravate the problem and in no way bring the desired cure closer.

5. Tonsils

Previously, it was believed that the tonsils are a rudimentary and completely useless organ that can be cut out without much damage to the body. However, now most immunologists agree that such an operation is the first step towards “killed” immunity, especially regarding inflammatory processes in the throat.

6. Airways

The immune reactions proceeding in the larynx in response to incoming pathogens cause laryngitis – a rather unpleasant symptom of airborne infections that could not be stopped at the stage of penetration into the mucous membranes of the nasal cavity. If the immune processes have not completed successfully here, the infectious process can affect the lower parts of the respiratory system: the trachea, bronchi and lungs, causing tracheitis, bronchitis and pneumonia, respectively.

How to preserve the lymphatic system: prevention of pathologies

In Human Lymphatic system, Knowing that the human lymphatic system performs functions that are vital for maintaining health, it is worth paying close attention to maintaining its performance. The first thing that should be done for this is in no case to allow oversaturation of the lymphatic system with toxic compounds and decay products of pathogens.

If you violate the full self-cleaning of nodes and blood vessels, sooner or later this will lead to a rejection of the immune response, which means a total dissonance in the human body.

In addition, you should undergo a preventive course of lymphatic drainage massage at least 2 times a year. Such an effect will significantly speed up and facilitate lymph flow, will serve as additional stimulation of the lymphatic vessels, stimulate the outflow of excess interstitial fluid and prevent the formation of edema, and also activate the excretion of large molecules of decay products and foreign particles from the body.

Of course, it is best to entrust the conduct of a therapeutic lymphatic drainage massage to a specialist – he knows exactly which points and with what intensity to influence. But even at home, you can try to facilitate the work of the lymphatic system with the help of light stroking with a massage brush in the direction of the movement of the lymph.

Also, to maintain the health of the lymphatic system, it will be very useful to control the work of the gastrointestinal tract, regulate the diet and bring the weight back to normal. Since a large number of lymph nodes open directly into the intestine, its emptying should be regular and complete: any stagnation of metabolic products can lead to intoxication and the development of an infectious process.

And so that this regularity is not violated, you should balance the menu, excluding dry food and on the go; in the daily diet, at least 4 full meals should be present, at least 1 of which (preferably lunchtime) should be accompanied by a high-quality first course.

Foods useful for the activity of the lymphatic system include:

  • Walnuts. They have a positive effect due to the high content of vitamins and minerals that nourish the lymph nodes and blood vessels. In addition, a special phytoncide is included in the composition of nuts, which improves the composition of the lymph, increasing its activity in the fight against pathogenic formations.
  • Carrots are the most important source of beta-carotene. It slows down the aging process of lymphocytes and, if necessary, accelerates the synthesis of antibodies.
  • Seaweed, which is famous for its rich iodine content. It increases the immune properties of the lymphatic system and allows you to quickly cope with pathogens that have entered the body.

But from the “harmful” in the diet will have to be abandoned. Scientific studies have shown that high levels of salt and preservatives in the diet increase the pressure inside the lymphatic vessels, which can lead to their deformation up to a complete rupture. This dysfunction, in turn, can quickly destroy the body’s immune responses.

You should also reconsider your lifestyle, opting for healthier habits. A sedentary lifestyle quickly reduces the tone of the lymphatic network, which slows down the lymph flow and impairs the body’s defenses.

Therefore, it is worth paying attention to daily walks in the fresh air, at least 1-2 times a week to play sports and lead an active lifestyle – this will keep blood vessels in good shape, which means it will stimulate the lymphatic system.

In addition, the lymphatic organs should be treated with care and delicacy. Lymphoid tissue is extremely sensitive to temperature extremes, and therefore you should not overcool or, on the contrary, overheat too much – this can cause inflammation and enlargement of the lymph nodes.

In Human Lymphatic system, By observing these recommendations, you will be able to maintain the full function of the lymphatic system, which, in turn, will protect the body from the effects of toxins and poisons, prevent the development of bacterial, viral and fungal diseases, can easily and effectively cleanse the body of toxins and carcinogens and keep your health for high level.

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