The function of the lymph system is simple and works in three ways: Fluid balance, protection from infection and absorption of fats.
By providing fluid balance the lymph system helps the blood system by removing the excess fluids in the body. It also helps by picking up the extra protein left behind in the cells and carries it away to be excreted.
For fighting infection the lymphocytes can live and multiply in the lymph system this helps attack and destroy any foreign bodies in the body. It also helps filter out any cellular debris.
May of the fats we digest are too large to enter out blood capillaries so then enter the lymph system so they can travel to the blood system and be utilized by the cells.
We average around 500 to 600 lymph nodes in our body; the lymph nodes filter out any impurities from the lymph system and also produce lymphocytes. We have various area of lymphatic tissue in our bodies to help protect us from foreign bodies. Our tonsils are a mass of lymphatic tissue in the oral cavity that protects us against foreign materials entering into our bodies. When our tonsils collect these bacteria they enlarge. The spleen is a soft highly vascular organ that is the upper left quadrant of the abdomen. The spleen stores one pint of blood to be used as a back up in emergency systems, it forms lymphocytes, monocytes and plasma cells. It also works to destroy worn out red blood cells and remove bacteria through phagocytosis. The spell even produces red blood cells before birth.
Some of the disorders of the lymphatic system include: Anemia, Argranulocytosis, Leukemia, Thrombocytopenia, Hemophilia, von Willebrand’s Disease, Disseminated Intravscular Coagulation, Multiple Myeloma, Lymphangitis, Lymphedema, Hodgkin’s Disease, and Non-Hodgkin’s Disease to name a few.
Without a proper working lymphatic system our bodies are unable to do to very important functions in our bodies; maintain proper fluids balance and keep our bodies free of impurities. When we have lymph nodes removed or have a procedure like chemo or radiation done it knocks down the body’s defenses to properly fight of infections. This is why infection control is very important with your patient’s who have any type of lymphatic disorders.
As a nurse patient teaching will be very important to your client on the risks of infection. You will want to teach your patient how to look for signs and symptoms of infection and to report them to their doctors.