The Health of the Immune and Lymphatic System

Health of the ImmuneInside the body, the immune system is made up of an ‘army’ of special cells. These defenders each have different functions and are located in different areas of the body. For instance, some do their work in the bloodstream, tonsils, appendix and spleen, while others work in the gut and lymph nodes.

For the purposes of this article, we are going to look at the specific role of the lymphatic system in supporting immunity.

What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is made up of:

Lymphocytes: These are a form of small white blood cell that determine the type of immune response to infectious microorganisms and other foreign substances that enter the body.

Lymph: This is a clear fluid, which bathes the tissues and carries immune cells (such as B and T lymphocytes). The lymphatic system collects excess fluids, nutrients, gases, ions, hormones, enzymes and plasma proteins from surrounding tissues and returns them to the blood circulation, once pathogens, toxins and waste matter have been filtered out.

Lymph vessels: Fluids move out of our blood capillaries into tissue spaces, and then into lymph capillaries. These then join to form larger lymph vessels. The lymph vessels carry lymph.

Lymph nodes: Located along the lymph vessels, these are small glands interspersed along lymphatic vessels. They act as collection sites and cleaning filters, which form part of an immune system response against infection. Lymph must pass through them, before entering the blood.

Tonsils: Tonsils are the two lymph nodes located on each side of the back of your throat. They function as a defence mechanism, helping to prevent infection from entering the rest of your body.

The thymus gland: Located behind the sternum and between the lungs, this gland is only active until puberty. After puberty, the thymus starts to shrink and is gradually replaced by fat. Thymosin is the hormone of the thymus, and it stimulates the development of disease-fighting T cells.

Peyer’s patches: These are small masses of lymphatic tissue found in the small intestine. They form an important part of the immune system by monitoring intestinal bacteria populations and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines.

Did you know that arguably the most important part of your immune system is in your gut? A massive 70% of all antibody-producing cells are located in Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT), found in the intestine. GALT is considered the largest collection of immune cells in the body.

The spleen: The spleen is an organ found on the left-hand side of your upper abdomen. Its main functions are to filter the blood, create new blood cells and store platelets. It is also a key part of the immune system.

What does the lymphatic system do?

Aside from maintaining fluid balance in the body and absorbing fat from the digestive tract, the lymphatic system’s primary functions are to:

1. act like a ‘garbage collection’ service for the body, filtering the bloodstream of toxins and waste;

2. fight infection – as we have already mentioned, the lymph nodes contain high levels of white blood cells that engulf bacteria. If we have an infection, the nodes closest to the site enlarge as the white blood cells multiply inside them. This is why lymph nodes (for example in the neck, armpits and groin) often become inflamed during illness – this means they are doing their job!

So with this in mind, it is easy to see how the lymphatic system plays a crucial role in removing toxins and pathogens from the body and thereby generally supporting the immune system.

Keep that lymph moving!

One of the most important things to know about the lymphatic system is that it does not have a circulatory ‘pump’ equivalent to the heart. However, given that it is a collection point for many toxins and waste products, it is obviously important to keep these undesirable substances moving, ultimately heading for elimination out of the body.

You might be surprised to learn that we have approximately three times the amount of lymph fluid in our bodies than we do blood. In contrast to blood, which is pumped around by the heart’s contractions, lymphatic fluid generally flows around our body against gravity. But how does this happen?

Three things help to keep lymph moving: the contractions of surrounding muscles during exercise or physical activity (this can increase lymph flow by up to 15 times); contractions of smooth muscle in the lymph vessel walls; and movements of the chest when breathing.

This therefore highlights the importance of keeping active and breathing deeply – by doing so, you will be supporting lymphatic drainage and helping to cleanse your immune system!

The average modern lifestyle, filled with stress, work pressures, family pressures, lack of exercise, environmental toxins and unhealthy foods can all place a huge strain on our toxic loads and, therefore, the lymphatic system on a daily basis. A sensible exercise regime and healthy diet can go a long way towards lessening this burden.

Simon Poole is the owner of Miracle Supplements an online webstore dedicated to providing high quality dietary supplements not readily found on the high street. We also provide up to the minute articles on all aspects of health.

 

New Innovations for Varicose Veins Treatment

Veins TreatmentWhen vascular problems result in uncomfortable swelling and discoloration of the lower extremities, a doctor may recommend varicose veins treatment. In the past, medical techniques often involved painful procedures that did not always effectively or permanently address the problems. New technology has resulted in more options for better resolution of this painful malady.

New Ways to Diagnose

Even diagnostic techniques have changed significantly with modern medical technological advancements. Instead of a Doppler device pressed firmly against the leg to detect the areas where the vascular flow is diminished, special ultrasound tools provide faster results. Modern ultrasound machines enable a physician to examine the entire landscape of the leg to see all the intricacies of the circulatory system. The resulting image is both sharp and two-dimensional. This image is a useful tool physicians use to determine the exact vein that is causing problems.

Old Treatments

Years ago, patients had to undergo uncomfortable procedures for varicose veins treatment. A physician would insert a flexible rod under the skin near the groin, and then pass the rod through the entire vein. The physician would then attach a metal cap to the end of the rod. In the final step, the rod was pulled back through the vein and out from the groin incision. This process would strip the vessel to eliminate it from the vascular system. In its absence, other veins would take over to transport blood.

An ambulatory phlebectomy is another example of an older treatment technique, but some patients still prefer this method. With this procedure, a physician pulls out the vessel with a special tool. Once removed, other vessels take over immediately. The benefit of an ambulatory phlebectomy is immediate results without waiting for reabsorption.

Newer Options

Today doctors utilize newer, more advanced techniques to restore vascular health. One procedure involves inserting a thin catheter into the faulty vein. By applying radio waves, the vessel wall shrinks and collapses. Patients do not experience scarring after this procedure, but some people will notice bruising. The final reabsorption may take up to two months to complete.

Laser therapy is a popular and non-invasive varicose veins treatment. A doctor directs a laser to force the vessel to collapse. Patients may experience slight discomfort when the laser beam hits the skin. Medical personnel immediately reduce this discomfort by cooling the skin.

Foam sclerotherapy involves mixing a special detergent with air to create a medicine that resembles thin shaving cream. The doctor injects the foam, causing swelling and blockage. Once this occurs, other venous systems step up to handle the blood flow. This type of therapy is best for less severe issues.

Patients should consult with a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment recommendations to resolve potentially serious vascular problems.

Robotic Assisted Surgery for Orthopedics

Robotic Assisted Surgery for OrthopedicsWhat is MAKOplasty?

MAKOplasty is a robotic-assisted surgical procedure that doctors recommend to patients with knee and hip pain. The procedure is mostly used to treat knee osteoarthritis. MAKOplasty is a partial knee resurfacing procedure that gives orthopedics an alternative to the conventional total knee replacement. The procedure is less invasive and recommended to patients with early to mid-stages of knee osteoarthritis. Doctors may opt for total knee replacement if the case of osteoarthritis is severe or in the last stages.

MAKOplasty is the preferred alternative when non-surgical treatments fail. An orthopedic surgeon may recommend MAKOplasty if you experience pain in the inner knee during certain activities. Orthopedic surgeons also recommend the treatment if your knee pains you as you stand from a sitting position or after walking for a short distance. The procedure is also recommended if you experience knee swelling and/or knee locking.

How MAKOplasty works:

Orthopedic surgeons use robotic technology during the knee surgery procedure to select the damaged part of the knee. The procedure starts with a CT scan to determine the size and position of the implant needed to replace the damaged part. MAKOplasty procedures use a robotic arm system that enables surgeons to resurface or select the diseased knee part accurately. Hence, the healthy bone and tissues are untouched during the procedure. Surgeons require four to six inch incisions to perform the procedures. Some surgeons use two to three inch incisions. The optimal implant prepared earlier is positioned and aligned carefully to replace the removed part.

Benefits:

MAKOplasty procedures are fast and less invasive. The robotic surgery is offered as an outpatient treatment in some hospitals. You spend less time at the hospital when undergoing this procedure compared to the total knee replacement procedure. The recovery process is fast. Robotic-assisted surgical procedures are very accurate. Surgeons determine the right size of the implant required and avoid resurfacing any healthy part of the bone or tissue. MAKOplasty enables surgeons to place the implant in an optimal position, which makes your knee feel natural after recovery. You will be able to resume your daily activities within a few weeks after knee surgery. MAKOplasty procedures are associated with less blood loss and smaller scars compared to traditional knee surgical procedures.

The lifespan of MAKOplasty implants:

The lifespan of implants used in MAKOplasty procedures vary based the patient’s level of activity, weight and bone stock. The lifespan also depends on the patient’s compliance with the post-op care instructions. The position and alignment of the implant influence its lifespan as well. Hence, it is advisable to seek this treatment option from qualified and certified orthopedic surgeons.

Is Chiropractor Treatment Safe

Is Chiropractor Treatment SafeChiropractor treatment is becoming a popular choice to treat patients who experience pain due to accidents and injuries. Accidents cannot be prevented and most people tend to get injured while performing daily activities or playing sports or any other physical activity.

Although conventional medical treatment helps provide relief, there are many who continue to endure the pain as the root cause of the problem is left unattended.

The chiropractor treatment process may be able to find the underlying causes of this problem and get rid of the discomfort permanently. Most people have been found to respond better to this treatment process compared to the conventional medical procedures.

The minor adjustments that are made to the joints and muscles help in providing permanent relief from the discomfort and pain that you have been suffering for many weeks.

People who have joint pain experience inflammation, soreness and stiffness and the chiropractor may be able to treat all these conditions in a safe and successful way. There are various reasons due to which joints become weak and these include aging, injuries and diseases.

Stress and lifestyle choices have also been found to affect the joints and spine. The chiropractor may determine the exact cause of the joint pain before starting the treatment process. After the treatment process is completed you may be able to regain mobility and live a normal and healthy life without pain.

Is chiropractor treatment safe during pregnancy?

Pregnant women experience back pain and the chiropractor treatment has been found to very effective in treating it. However before any such treatment is started it would be advisable to consult your physician.

Women experience low back pain due to pregnancy and this treatment process may help align the spine to help provide immediate relief.

Women who have undergone chiropractor treatment have found it be very beneficial in treating the aches and pains that they experience during pregnancy.

Each pregnancy is different and this important aspect needs to be taken into consideration by the chiropractor before starting the treatment process.

There are various specialized techniques that are used to treat pregnant women and the chiropractor needs to be aware about it so that the correct procedures are followed. The stress on the joints that are caused due to additional weight during pregnancy can be eased and this can help in relieving pain.

It is important that the spinal adjustments during pregnancy are only done by a qualified and experienced chiropractor. This will ensure that the treatment is effective and safe.

Is chiropractor treatment safe for the elderly?

Aging is one of the most common causes of pain in the body and the chiropractor treatment is considered safe for elderly people. The musculoskeletal structure of the body becomes weak due to aging and can result in misalignment of the joints and muscles in various parts of the body.

Elderly people are also prone to injuries and accidents and this can result in back, neck and hip pain. As the treatment does not involve the use of medication and surgery, it is considered suitable for elderly people.