The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system, composed of a network of vessels that carry a clear fluid known as the lymph. The lymphatic system also includes various other structures in the body, dedicated to the circulation and production of lymphocytes. These systems seclude the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and the lymphoid tissue. Lymphoid tissue is found in many organs and lymph nodes. These are small, round organs of the immune system, distributed throughout the body and linked with lymphatic vessels. The nodes act as filters for foreign objects, and they are essential for normal functioning of the immune system.
The lymphocytes, immune cells of the lymphatic system, protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and all other foreign invaders. Any kind of damage or disease that affects the immune system can compromise the patient's overall health. Here are some of the most common diseases of the lymphatic system.
This disease is also known under the name lymphatic obstruction, and it is a disease characterized by local fluid retention and swelling of the tissue, due to a compromised lymphatic system. What happens in the course of this disease is that the lymphatic system returns the interstitial fluid to the thoracic duct and then to the bloodstream. Patients with lymphedema are at great risk of infections.
This is an infectious tropical disease, caused by parasites: a thread-like filarial nematodes, or roundworms. Parasites may invade the patient's lymphatic system and cause swelling with thickening of the skin and underlying tissues. The disease usually affects the lower extremities.
The lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic cells of the immune system. The malignant cell usually originates from the lymph nodes, but the disease often spreads to other organs as well (extranodal lymphoma). The disease usually manifests through various symptoms like anorexia, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, swollen/enlarged lymph nodes, night sweats and weight loss.
This term is used to describe any kind of disease of the lymph nodes. Usually, doctors use this term to refer to a symptom of swollen or enlarged lymph nodes. Swelling usually occurs as a result of infection, autoimmune disease or malignancy.
Splenomegaly is an enlargement of the spleen and it is usually associated with an increased workload of the spleen, which is a sign of hyperfunction. This actually means that splenomegaly occurs whenever there is a disease process in the body that involves abnormal red blood cells being destroyed in the spleen.
This condition is also known as pharyngotonsillitis or tonsillopharyngitis, and it refers to the inflammation of the tonsils most commonly caused by a viral or bacterial infection.