The Lymphatic System: In Laymen’s Terms

  • March 7, 2018 at 2:44pm
  • by John Piché
The Lymphatic System: In Laymen’s Terms

The Lymphatic System: In Laymen’s Terms

Let’s say you’re at the airport and you’re waiting in line to get through security. You’re in your socks in public and you’re wrestling with those plastic bins and people are yelling at you about dumping liquids and taking your laptop out of your bag. But even with a certain amount of chaos, the line moves pretty quickly. I mean it SHOULD theoretically because really everyone has the same goal – to get to where they need to be.

Now, you probably think at this point that I’m setting you up to talk about stress or anxiety or something but I am not, instead I want you to imagine that security line being like your blood moving through your high-pressure circulatory system and you, my friend, are not just some impatient traveller in a hurry to catch the next plane to Ottawa or Toronto. You are a bit of blood plasma and the biggest concern of everyone in your queue is just to get delivered to their destination.

But the problem with rushing stuff through a blood vessel or through the “security line” is that if it moves too fast you run the risk that something bad might get through – so in the case of the line at the airport every now and then one of those security people funnel some random folks over to a slower line for a full pat-down and a bag check. The same line is also used for specially marked items that carry special contents such as “chylomicron” – the oversized handbags that transport fat contents. They can’t travel with your regular checked luggage or carry-on, they can only be transported through this particular line. And that is kind of what your lymphatic system does – it takes up some extra fluid and while it’s ultimately helping it get to its destination it runs a background check to make sure it’s legit. When we use the variable precursor after a treatment we simply help push that line along a little faster.

It may not be as well known as some of your other more popular organ systems but your lymphatic system quietly plays a vital supporting role to both your cardiovascular and immune system. For one thing, it maintains your homeostasis by eventually returning most of the fluid that has been diverted, back into your blood – which is good because if you didn’t your ankles would swell up like balloons, your lungs would fill up with fluid, and your blood volume and pressure will drop to the point where your body would just give up and you would die. The lymphatic system isn’t just another security line, it also has a series of checkpoints that are staffed by special security officers that have the ability to take care of small infections on the spot or if they really don’t like the looks of what they found they can alert the whole immune system to take it down! So, for keeping your blood volume levels where they need to be; for keeping you from collapsing from low blood pressure; and for preventing you from dying from a staph infection every time you scrape your elbow; you have to thank the unsung hero of your anatomy: your lymphatic system.


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John Piché
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