Why do we Sweat?

Sweating occurs as a natural process, allowing us to cool down when we are placed in a warm climate, exercising or emotionally stressed.  The moisture created through sweating evaporates on the surface of the skin, which results in a cooling sensation.  This allows your body to retain a safe temperature even in the warmest of climates or when undertaking a lot of exercise.  If your body reaches too high a temperature you can experience cramping, nausea and can even fall unconscious.  Perspiration is a vital tool for your good health, and is something that we often take for granted. 

We sweat for a variety of different reasons, but there are three main causes for sweating.

Sweating due to stress

It is believed that we sweat in uncomfortable situations as a precaution, allowing us to quickly react if needs be.  Extra moisture on the hands allows a better touch sensation and in some situations a better hold on objects.  This is something that we cannot knowingly control ourselves, rather it is a bodily response, alike to a reflex.  This means that often we sweat when we don’t wish to in high-stress situations. 

Sweating due to exercise

When we exercise our body heat rises, and sweating is a deliberate act by our body to prevent it from rising too high.  This occurs automatically as a reaction to increased heart rate and the heat produced through exercise.  As we continue to work our sweat rate will also increase, allowing us to continually cool down throughout. 

Sweating due to heat

Humans live in a wide, diverse range of settings.  From the North Pole to the Sahara Desert we adapt and live all over the world, and sweating is one of the reasons that we can do this.  As the external temperature increases so does our internal temperature, our sweat rate helps to keep this in check.

The amount people sweat depends on the amount of physical activity that they are doing and whether they are in a climate that they are used to.  If you are placed in warmer conditions than you normally would encounter you are likely to produce more sweat than someone who is used to those conditions.  As such it is hard to gauge what is a ‘normal’ amount for someone to sweat throughout the day.  Everyone is very different, and it is only if you are finding that you are suddenly sweating more, or less, or if you are uncomfortable with the volume of sweat that you produce that you ought to seek help or be concerned.  There are medical conditions that will affect your perspiration rates, and it can also be a reaction to medications.

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