How does the lymphatic system interact with the cardiovascular system?

Written by chris sherwood
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How does the lymphatic system interact with the cardiovascular system?

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Lymphatic System

Before you can understand how the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems interact, you must first understand what each system does. The lymphatic system is a network of tubes that carry a substance called lymph. This white liquid has a variety of jobs including removing interstitial fluid (the plasma that leaks from the capillaries and deposits between cells), transporting important immune response cells and transporting fatty acids to the circulatory system.

Cardiovascular System

The cardiovascular system is one of the most important systems in your body. This system consists of your heart and a series of blood vessels called veins, arteries and capillaries. The cardiovascular system works by pumping blood into the lungs, causing it to become oxygenated. The oxygen-rich blood is then transported throughout the body through a network of arteries. Off the arteries are smaller vessels called capillaries: These branch out to the individual cells of the body to give them access to nutrition and oxygen. The depleted blood is then returned to the heart through vessels called veins. The heart pumps the blood back into the lungs to restart the process.

Interstitial Fluid

The lymphatic system interacts with the lymphatic system mostly through the removal of interstitial fluid and fatty acids. When nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood reach the capillaries, the capillaries leak interstitial fluid into the tissue to feed the cells. Once the cells have gained what they need, the fluid must be removed from the cells and placed back into the circulatory system to be reused. This is done by the lymph system. The lymph draws the fluid from the cells and deposits it back into the blood in the veins.

Fatty Acids

The other main way in which the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems interact is through the removal of fatty acids in the body. In the small intestine are small lymph vessels called lacteals. The lacteals absorb the fatty acids that do not get absorbed by the intestines. The lymph system then transports these fats from the digestive system, through the thoracic duct and into the circulatory system.

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