Why Do Lymph Nodes Swell Up When You're Sick?

Your lymphatic system plays an essential role in keeping you healthy, but how exactly does it work?

The lymphatic system is incredibly important when it comes to maintaining a balanced amount of fluid around our bodies. Lymph nodes act like checkpoints around our bodies, constantly policing fluid taken from the blood to make sure everything’s okay.

The lymphatic system is a network of lymph vessels that also includes larger organs like the spleen, thymus, and tonsils, and one of the lymphatic system's main jobs is to drain fluid from the cardiovascular system and act like an emergency overflow channel.

And while that's the first job of our lymphatic systen, taking care of fluid balance. The lymphatic system also plays a supporting role in the immune system. And without our lymphatic system, our immune response would be entirely different.

In this episode of Human, Patrick explores what makes the lymphatic system so important, and dives into why our lymph nodes seem to only rear their ugly heads when we get sick.

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“Your body's lymphatic system is part of your immune system, which protects you against infection and disease. The lymphatic system includes your spleen, thymus, lymph nodes and lymph channels, as well as your tonsils and adenoids.”

Lymphatic System: Facts, Functions & Diseases


“The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.”

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“The lymphatic system is a system of thin tubes and lymph nodes that run throughout the body. These tubes are called lymph vessels or lymphatic vessels. The lymph system is an important part of our immune system.”

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