The primary function of the lymphatic system is that it is a transport system to drain lymphatic fluid, which is a clear, colourless fluid (containing water, proteins, white blood cells, waste and other waste materials), from your tissues. This fluid is then filtered through your lymph nodes. The filtered lymph fluid then drains back into the large veins and is pumped back to the heart, where it is eventually removed from the body as urine through the kidneys.
There are 600 to 800 lymph nodes in the human body and occur in groups that drain particular areas of the body. These groups of lymph nodes provide the lymphatic system with an extra form of filtration and a protective function as they are one of the lymphatic organs responsible for the production of antibodies (lymphocytes) which have a vital role in fighting infection.
HOW IS THE LYMPHATIC FLUID DRAINED?
The fluid is drained along the system by three main mechanisms which operate synergistically. Each has an important role:
- The Respiratory Pump via Diaphragmatic Breathing
- The Muscle Pump via Exercise
- The Lymphatic system via peristalsis in the digestive system/intestines