When it comes to the fluid that travels through the body via the lymph system, it is a one–way journey that passes through approximately 700 lymph nodes before exiting the body. The lymph nodes get a lot of press because of their role in cancer diagnosis and staging. Still, the lymphatic capillaries, which are also known as lymph capillaries, are just as essential to the lymphatic system.
These vessels help move the lymph in one direction throughout the body to bring nourishment to the cells and to remove waste. There are anchoring filaments that are stretchy and attach the capillaries to the surrounding tissues.
The vessels allow for lymph to enter but not to exit, creating a one–way route to the neck where 90% of the lymph is returned to the body. The remaining 10% circulates back through the lymph system.
The Lymph’s Journey
Lymph is a clear to a light yellow fluid that runs throughout the lymphatic system, which has a vital role as part of the immune system (Components of the Immune System – webmd.com). The lymph has a connection to each of the following:
- Tissue fluid
- Extracellular fluid
- Arterial blood
Lymph begins its journey as part of the plasma, which is in the arterial blood that streams into the tissues from the heart. Then it becomes part of the extracellular fluid that flows between the cells. The liquid that is drained from the cells into the lymphatic system where it travels one way along the vessels where all, but 10% is returned to the venous circulation as plasma.
The lymph, which is nearly all water, will be filtered through the lymph nodes to remove debris and pathogens. This system does a superb job of protecting the body from harm. Sometimes it becomes overwhelmed and will swell as it fights infection and produces the lymphocytes. The lymphatic capillaries’ role is to allow the lymph that is drawn off the cells to enter the lymphatic vessels.
Understand More About – Inguinal Lymph Nodes
The Lymph Capillaries and the Movement of Lymph in the Body
The capillaries are located throughout the body. These are the two different kinds of lymphatic capillaries:
- Superficial Capillaries – a little over 2/3 of the capillaries are this type and are located just under the skin.
- Deep Lymphatic Capillaries – a little under 1/3 of the capillaries are this type and are located around major organs.
Tubes, which are no thicker than a cell, overlap each other and are held in place by anchoring filaments that are attached to the tissues. It creates devices that respond to pressure that causes the valves to open, fill up, and then close, causing the fluid to be trapped in it. The intestines have specialized capillaries, and non–vascular tissue will not have any of them.
Limits Body Movement
The lymph moves slowly through the body without a pump but pushed along by movement and gravity. People who have health issues or injuries that limit movement are more likely to have sluggish lymph movement. It can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to poor health (Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Get Healthy and Stay Healthy).
Lymphatic capillaries are a vital part of the lymphatic system. The fluid leaves the capillaries, which are on the front line of the system because they are the first to start collecting fluid from the cells that are moving into vessels. Lymphatic vessels are attached to the lymph nodes. These nodes will filter the lymph to prevent cancer cells, viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens from being circulated throughout the body. In the nodes, the pathogens will be destroyed, and the debris is removed.