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Difference Between Blood and Lymph

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Last updated date: 25th Feb 2024
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Blood and Lymph: Same or Different?

Our body has specific fluids to perform specific functions. Similar is in the case of blood and lymph. They are two different fluids in our body performing their functions. With the proper functioning of these fluids, the human body is healthy and functional. But, what is the difference between blood and lymph? What's the reason that they have different functions? If these are some of the questions you want answers to, keep reading the article below.

What is Blood and Lymph?

Blood and lymph are both fluid-like substances that are found in the human body. But, is that all about blood and lymph? No, it's not. There's more to their definition. This is discussed in the upcoming sub-sections. So, keep reading and find out! Even if the difference between blood and lymph is your end goal, knowing them better is also important.


Blood

A fluid connective tissue that circulates throughout the human body is called blood. While circulating, blood also works to deliver oxygen, hormones, and nutrients to the body. Alongside it also eliminates the waste products from the body. When it comes to composition, blood has- platelets, red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and plasma. All of them together play a very important role in immune responses, transportation, and also maintaining homeostasis.


Lymph

A clear fluid that's derived from the interstitial fluid is called lymph. The circulation of this fluid is seen in lymphatic vessels. Through this circulation, lymph helps in removing excess fluid, cellular waste, and tissue's foreign particles. Lymphocytes become the composition of lymph. And therefore, is helpful in the functioning of the immune system. Alongside this, it also transports lymphocytes to the lymphoid organs.


Difference Between Blood and Lymph

There are many ways one can differentiate between blood and lymph. To know the blood and lymph difference, go through the table below:


S.No.

Category

Blood

Lymph


Composition

Consists of red and white blood cells. The platelets and plasma are also present.

Consists mainly of lymphocytes, fluid, and some white blood cells.


Origin

Produced in the bone marrow.

Derived from interstitial fluid.


Circulatory System

Circulates within blood vessels (arteries, veins, capillaries).

Flows within lymphatic vessels.



Color

Red (when oxygenated) or dark red (when deoxygenated).

Clear or slightly yellowish



Volume

Approximately 7% of total body weight.

Much less volume than blood.


Fluid Function

Transports nutrients,  oxygen, waste products, and hormones. All around the body.

Collects and transports excess fluid, cellular waste, and foreign particles to lymph nodes.


Cells Function

Red blood cells carry oxygen, white blood cells fight infections, and platelets aid in blood clotting.

Lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) play a key role in the immune response.


Oxygenation

Contains oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in red blood cells.

Does not carry oxygen.


Nutrient Transport

Delivers nutrients, such as glucose and amino acids, to body tissues.

Does not primarily transport nutrients.


Waste Product Transport

Carries metabolic waste, such as carbon dioxide and urea, to be eliminated.

Helps remove cellular waste and debris from tissues.


Clotting Factors

Contains clotting factors to prevent excessive bleeding.

Lacks clotting factors.


Role in Immune System

Participates in immune responses through white blood cells and antibodies.

Acts as a filtration system and transports lymphocytes to lymphoid organs for immune function.


Filtration

Filtered by the kidneys to remove waste products and maintain electrolyte balance.

Filtered by lymph nodes to remove pathogens and foreign particles.


Presence in Vessels

Present in both arteries and veins.

Mainly present in lymphatic vessels.


Presence of Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes are scattered throughout the body and filter blood.

Lymph nodes are specialised organs that filter lymph and aid in immune responses.


Similarities: Characteristics of Blood and Lymph

To explain blood and lymph, it's important that you understand their similarities. In light of the same, the below points discuss the similarities between blood and lymph:


  • Fluid Composition: Both blood and lymph are fluids by composition. 

  • Cell's Presence: The two fluids (blood and lymph) are composed of different cells like WBCs. 

  • Transport Function: The major role both blood and lymph play is to transport substances throughout the human body. 

  • Role in Immune System: Blood and lymph are both involved in the human body's immune response.  

  • Oxygenation: They both participate in gaseous exchange. Although, the exchange of oxygen is primarily associated with blood. 

  • Circulation: Both the fluids (blood and lymph) circulate all over the body, only their pathways are different. 

  • Role in Homeostasis: The overall internal balance of the body is established by the proper functioning of blood and lymph. 

  • Waste Removal: Waste products from the tissues are removed with the help of blood and lymph. 

  • pH Regulation: pH balance is regulated with the help of blood and lymph. 

  • Interaction with Tissues: They (blood and lymph) react with different organs and tissues in the body. 


Conclusion

The circulatory system has two important fluids- blood and lymph. These have many similarities between them, but that's not what makes them unique. Instead, the difference between blood and lymph describes their unique qualities. And the above article discusses the same. Once you are aware of the differences between lymph and blood, your concepts will be clearer and more concise.

FAQs on Difference Between Blood and Lymph

1. Where to Find Blood and Lymph?

Both blood and lymph can be found in the human body. Blood is primarily found in the blood vessels- veins, arteries, and capillaries. Therefore, blood can be found circulating all over the human body. It includes every organ, tissue, and cell. When it comes to lymph, one can find it primarily circulating around the lymphatic system. Just as the blood vessels, lymphatic vessels are also spread throughout the body. And the lymphatic system is parallel to the circulatory system.

2. Is Lymph Another Name for Blood?

No. Lymph is the other name for blood. Because both lymph and blood are different components of the human body's circulatory system. They are different in function as well as composition. Blood is found in the circulatory system while lymph is found in the lymphatic system. Therefore, they aren't interchangeable terms. And thus, independently explain their names and functions.

3. Is Blood Carried by Lymph?

No. Blood is not carried by the lymph. Both of them are components of the circulatory system that work separately. They are defined by having different circular pathways and functions. The blood circulates in a closed system. This system consists of all the blood vessels- veins, arteries, and capillaries. While lymph is clear and derived from interstitial fluid. The lymphatic vessels collect it and it flows within the lymphatic system. Wherein blood carries nutrients, waste products, oxygen, and immune cells, the lymph collects cellular waste, helps transport excessive fluid, etc.