Why We Sweat? The Science Behind the Sweating
Why do we sweat? What does sweating mean? How does it work? Find out here!
The body sweats for many reasons, including heat stress, exercise, fever, infection, and emotional distress. It also helps regulate blood pressure and maintain fluid balance in the body.
The Body's Heat Balance System
The human body has two main systems that control its temperature: the nervous system and the endocrine system. The nervous system controls our brain and central nervous system (CNS), while the endocrine system regulates the rest of the body.
Sweating as an Antidote to Hypothermia
The endocrine system produces hormones that regulate the body's temperature by controlling heat loss through the skin. This process is called thermoregulation. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that coordinates the production of these hormones. It receives signals from the environment and sends them to other parts of the brain.
Sweating as a Sign of Stress
Sweating is an involuntary response to stress. In fact, when people feel stressed, their bodies produce more adrenaline, which triggers the release of epinephrine (also known as norepinephrine) into the bloodstream. Norepinephrine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight-or-flight response. As a result, blood vessels dilate, allowing more blood to flow to the skin. This results in increased perspiration.
Sweating as a Way to Cool Down
Sweating also helps cool down our body temperature by evaporation. It works because water molecules evaporate at a higher rate than other substances. Water vapor moves through the air faster than any other substance, so it takes longer for heat to escape from the body.
Sweating as a Means of Disguising Illness
If you’re sick, you might not want people to know what’s wrong with you. This is especially true if you’re contagious. You might even try to hide your symptoms, such as fever, cough, or diarrhea. However, there are some illnesses where it’s better to let others know you’re sick. For example, if you have an infection, you should tell your doctor so he or she can prescribe antibiotics.