What is The Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system is a network of tubes throughout the body that drains fluid (called lymph) from tissues and empties it back into the bloodstream. The main roles of the lymphatic system include managing the fluid levels in the body, filtering out bacteria, and housing types of white blood cells. Lymph is filtered through the spleen, thymus and lymph nodes before being emptied into the blood.

Blood vessels tend to seep fluid into surrounding tissue. The lymphatic system drains off any extra fluid to stop the tissues from puffing up. The feet in particular are prone to puffiness.

Lymphatic vessels criss-cross the entire body, except for the central nervous system. Some lymphatic vessels have valves (similar to the valves in veins), which stop the lymph from running back the wrong way.

The spleen is inside the abdomen, just under the diaphragm. This is one of the filtering organs of the blood. As well as removing microbes, the spleen also destroys old or damaged red blood cells.

The thymus is inside the ribcage, just behind the breastbone. This is another filtering organ of the blood, which contains many white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Lymphatic System