As blood moves through the arteries and veins, 10% of the fluid filtered by the capillaries, along with vital proteins, becomes trapped in the tissues of the body. This loss of this fluid (approximately 1-2 liters/day) would rapidly become life threatening if the lymphatic system did not properly function. The lymphatic system collects this fluid and returns it to the circulatory system.
Immunity and Spread of Infection
The lymphatic system plays an integral role in the immune functions of the body. It is the first line of defense against disease. This network of vessels and nodes transports and filters lymph fluid containing antibodies and lymphocytes (good) and bacteria (bad). The body’s first contact with these invaders signals the lymphatics, calling upon this system to orchestrate the way the infection-fighting cells prevent illness and diseases from invading microorganisms.
Lymph vessels in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract absorb fats from food. A malfunction of this part of the lymphatic system can result in serious malnutrition. The lymphatic system also impacts diseases such as excessive obesity caused by abnormal fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
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