5 Things Your Sweat Says about Your Health

· December 15, 2016
Sweat can have many triggers, and it can be alerting us about health problems. For that reason, we should pay attention to what it can be telling us.

Sweat is a very natural reaction to many things in life. Yet, lots of people dislike sweating, even when there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it.

Your body temperature rises, your nervous system gives your sweat glands the green light, and moisture appears on your skin.

We are constantly fighting against this situation. From carrying tissues to using perfume and deodorant, we always try to make sure nobody notices our bad odor.

Nevertheless, even though you may think you have managed to stop sweat, if you look closely you will see that what you are really stopping are the signs that perspiration wants to give us.

Here are some things your sweat is trying to say:

1. You are pregnant or nearing menopause

Burning up in a cold place, or not wanting to use a sweater when everyone is bundled up. These are symptoms that as many as 85% of women suffer when they are close to menopause.

Nevertheless, this is not the only reason, as pregnancy can also be the cause of overheating or hot flashes.

In both cases, it is due to hormonal changes. These appear to meddle with the brain’s reading of the body’s “thermostat.” This causes overheating, and sweat seeps out as a response to the reaction.

You might also enjoy: What is the Hormone Oxytocin?

2. You sweat because you’re stressed

If a bad smell comes to you, and you’re wondering, “Is that me?”, stop and think for a second. Analyze what’s been in your mind lately. While you reflect, answer this question: Are you stressed or anxious?

If that is the case, then your emotions are probably the culprit of that distasteful aroma. The sweat we produce when we are overheated is made through the eccrine glands, located all over the body, and contain mostly water and salt.

sweaty armpits

 

When you’re stressed, sweat is produced through the apocrine glands. These are found only in certain areas, like the armpits.

This type of sweat contains fat and protein that mixes with bacteria in the skin, producing a disagreeable odor in the process. The same thing happens when you are anxious or afraid.

3. You are spreading your happiness or fear through sweat

Although it might seem strange, people around you can tell what you’re feeling from the scent of your perspiration. In one experiment, 36 women smelled samples from the sweat of 12 different men who had seen videos intended to either scare them or make them feel happy.

When a woman smelled the sweat of a man who had been frightened by the video, it was more likely that she would show a facial expression that looked like fear. When she smelled the sweat of a happy man, it was most likely that she would smile.

So sweat can also be a good thing. It tells people how you’re feeling without using any words at all.

4. You are at risk for a heat stroke

Have you ever gone for a walk on a hot day and didn’t sweat? Some think this is a symbol of tolerance. Although there is some truth to this, you should be concerned if the weather is very hot and you don’t sweat at all and if you begin to feel dizziness.

This is called anhidrosis or hypohidrosis, and it is the inability to sweat normally. It is a very dangerous condition. The absence of perspiration impedes your body from refreshing itself in the way it naturally does.

If this is your problem, we recommend that you be careful in situations involving excessive heat. When you see that you’re at risk, drink plenty of water to replenish liquids. You should also cover yourself from sun exposure, bathe with lukewarm water, and limit exposure to heat.

Read more: 5 Surprising Benefits of Drinking Water

If you find yourself away from home, go to a place with shade or with air conditioning. If you don’t start to feel better quickly, call or request emergency medical attention.

5. You have low blood sugar.

 

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At the moment of measuring your glucose levels, they should be between 70 and 100 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood on an empty stomach. If it falls below the 70-mark because of diabetes or excessive exercising, you’ll begin to feel the effects.

One of the symptoms might be excessive sweating, especially on the back of the neck where the hairline is. If your heart rate has sped up and you feel tremors, mild nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision, you should be alert.

Sweat is perfectly natural. No one should want to stop sweating completely. So don’t worry about sweating: instead, make sure your body isn’t trying to tell you something you are ignoring.

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  • Deecher, D. (2007) Understanding the pathophysiology of vasomotor symptoms (hot flushes and night sweats) that occur in perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause life stages. Archives of Women's Mental Health. Volume 10, Issue 6. Pp 247–257
  • Albrecht, J.; Demmel, M.; Schoft, V. (2011) Smelling Chemosensory Signals of Males in Anxious Versus Nonanxious Condition Increases State Anxiety of Female Subjects. Chemical Senses. Volume 36, Issue 1. Pp. 19–27
  • Zoungas, S.; Patel, A.; Chalmers, J. (2010) Severe Hypoglycemia and Risks of Vascular Events and Death. The New England Journal of Medicine. Volume 363. Pp. 1410-1418