What is a lymphatic system & what are its functions?

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues, vessels and organs that work together to move a colorless, watery fluid called lymph back into your circulatory system (your bloodstream). Lymph contains white blood cells, and the system itself helps your body get rid of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. When bacteria are recognized in the lymph fluid, the lymph nodes make more infection-fighting white blood cells, which can cause swelling.

There are hundreds of lymph nodes in the human body and the lymph only flows in one direction – upwards toward the neck. If you find your neck, underarms, or groin area to be swollen, the cause could be either an infection, illness, or stress. Swollen lymph nodes may become smaller on their own without any treatment as you recover, but you can help your lymph system drain by performing a gentle massage.

As it turns out, your brain also relies on the lymph system too. Your brain creates fluid to cushion the brain and spinal cord from injury, but also to deliver nutrients and remove waste in the brain. Excess brain fluid gets drained into the lymphatic system to maintain a healthy level of pressure inside the skull.

To learn more about how the lymphatic system helps your brain, watch the video below!


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