Sweating is a normal reaction of the body to warmth, exertion and mentally stressful situations. The most important task of the sweat glands is the temperature control of the body. As with all other organs, it can also lead to functional disorders.
Task of the sweat glands
The most important task of the sweat glands is to stabilize the body temperature even in fluctuating ambient temperatures - indispensable for the proper functioning of the most diverse organs. The sweat gives off heat; It covers the skin with a moisture film that provides cooling on the surface. Further functions of the sweating are the excretion of toxic metabolic end products and the maintenance of the acid mantle of the skin.
What is sweating?
Sweating is controlled by the heat center in the brain, which is part of the subconscious (vegetative) nervous system. It receives temperature information from about 30, 000 skin temperature sensors, examines them and, if necessary, passes signals to sweat (sweat) to the three million sweat glands on the skin. These glands are found all over the body, especially in the palms and feet, in the armpits, on the head, in the neck and on the forehead. On average, they make up between 200 and 700 milliliters of a salty secretion per day, and over one liter per hour under extreme exertion.
Sweat not only removes fluid from the body, but also salts and minerals are lost. Excessive salt loss due to excessive sweating - for example, in a hot summer - can cause significant problems in the body's electrolyte balance. Anyone who sweats must definitely drink a lot - and think of the salt intake during heavy sweating.
What does sweat consist of?
Sweat consists mainly of water enriched with:
- trace elements
- fatty acids
He is initially odorless. Only when the bacteria present on the skin get over him, are strong-smelling substances such as butyric acid, which cause the unpleasant body odor on evaporation.
Sweat production is closely interlocked with other parts of the vegetative nervous system - everyone knows the sweat of sweat or taste sweating that is caused by the consumption of particularly spicy foods. In addition to these "eccrine" sweat glands, so-called "apocrine" sweat glands, also called scent glands, are found on the hair roots in the pubic and anal areas and in the armpits. They are activated by emotional stimuli such as sexual desire, anger and pain and are under the control of sex hormones. For temperature regulation, these glands contribute little.
Dysfunction of the sweat glands
As with other cells and parts of the body, it can also lead to dysfunction of the sweat glands. Depending on whether too much or too little sweat is produced, one speaks of a hyperhidrosis or Hypohidrosis; The sweat smells very unpleasant from a Bromhidrosis.
Previously, disorders of sweat production were summarized under the generic term dyshidrosis. Today, however, this name is used almost exclusively for a particular type of eczema, as its cause was previously mistakenly assumed disturbances of sweat production.