Information for Patients
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs. It is made up of
- Lymph - a fluid that contains white blood cells that defend against germs
- Lymph vessels - vessels that carry lymph throughout your body. They are different from blood vessels.
- Lymph nodes - glands found throughout the lymph vessels. Along with your spleen, these nodes are where white blood cells fight infection.
Your bone marrow and thymus produce the cells in lymph. They are part of the system, too.
The lymphatic system clears away infection and keeps your body fluids in balance. If it's not working properly, fluid builds in your tissues and causes swelling, called lymphedema. Other lymphatic system problems can include infections, blockage, and cancer.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body.
TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks. If you have been exposed, you should go to your doctor for tests. You are more likely to get TB if you have a weak immune system.
Symptoms of TB in the lungs may include
- A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Weakness or fatigue
- Night sweats
Skin tests, blood tests, x-rays, and other tests can tell if you have TB. If not treated properly, TB can be deadly. You can usually cure active TB by taking several medicines for a long period of time.