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The Science Behind Sweating

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The Science Behind Sweating
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Sweating is an essential human function that helps control the body’s temperature.

According to the National Institute of Health, sweating is the release of salty liquid from the body’s sweat glands. Humans have two to four million sweat glands in their body, but sweating depends on different factors like age, weight, activity, medical condition (if any) or fitness level among others.

What Triggers the Sweat Mechanism

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The human body is a remarkable system that no mechanical device can emulate. It regulates bodily functions on its own.

This blog is about what makes us sweat but not the external factors that make you sweat; rather the internal bodily function that allow sweating. It all starts with the hypothalamus, the central part of the brain that controls all bodily functions.

The heat-regulated function of the hypothalamus works closely with the heat receptors of the skin. The skin quickly adapts to heat just as the hypothalamus which adapts to a rise in temperature. It gives off heat through sweating which helps cool down body temperature.

What Is Sweat

Sweat although has the consistency of water it is a small solute that contains water and little amounts of salt and minerals, lactate and urea. Since the human body consists of water, there is more water released when sweating. Minerals may contain traces of sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Sweat: More or Less or Normal

Sweating is the body’s mechanism to keep it cool and regulate its temperature. During periods of strenuous physical activities, the body can lose two to four litres of sweat per hour and a maximum of ten litres in a day. However, there are cases when people sweat more than others or even people who do not actually sweat at all.

Excessive sweating is a medical condition called Hyperhidrosis while not sweating at all is called hypohidrosis.

In normal cases, sweat may be due to the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Exercise
  • Cancer or other serious medical condition
  • Fever
  • Menopause
  • Spicy Foods
  • Emotional Stress
  • And of course warm temperatures

What to Do When Sweating

Since sweating is a release of body fluids, it is best to replace lost fluids with water. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body. If it’s possible, try to lower the temperature in a room, wash your face or take a bath altogether. This will help regulate body temperature and avoid heat exhaustion.

Just a quick reminder, when combating heat by drinking water, make sure to get it from a clean water source. Prefer to drink filtered water since it is free from water borne contaminants and chemicals that may be present in bottled water.

So go ahead, rehydrate and enjoy your filtered water.

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