The Role of Sweat in Regulating Body Temperature
The skin is made up of a few glands that secrete different things that helps us maintain moist. These glands perform different functions in the body, and they include the Sweat glands, Sebaceous glands, Ceruminous glands, Mammary glands, and Holocrine glands.
The Ceruminous glands are found in the ear canal and it produces earwax which protects the ear from dirt, dust, and other foreign substances that want to enter the ear. The Sebaceous glands produce Sebum which is the oily substance on the skin which helps keep the scalp, face, chest, hair, and other parts of the skin oily, and moisturized. In this post, we are looking at the Sweat gland and everything Sweat. The Sweat Gland is made up of the apocrine glands, apoeccrine glands, and eccrine glands. These glands produce different types of sweat and are activated by different stimuli.
The apocrine glands are larger than the eccrine glands. It is found in the anus, armpit, genital region, areoli region, and bearded region. The apocrine gland secretes first into the hair follicle, then the secretion goes to the surface of the skin. The sweat is lipid-rich, and made up of proteins, sugar, and amonia. The apocrine gland secretes viscous sweat fluid, which usually over time become smelly. This sweat doesn't help with thermoregulation which has to do with cooling the body but rather it contains pheromones. Pheromones are chemical substances that are secreted in animals with association with sexual attraction and reproduction. These glands are sensitive to emotional stress and hormonal changes. When females are close to ovulation, the apocrine gland cells enlarge causing more secretions.
The Apoeccrine glands develop in teenagers during puberty from the eccrine sweat gland. They are more active in children between the age of 6–18 years old. Unlike the apocrine and the eccrine glands, the function of this secretion is unknown but it probably would share properties with both eccrine and apocrine.
The third sweat gland is known as the eccrine gland. It is the gland that produces the sweat that we are used to. The sweat from the eccrine gland functions in the thermoregulation of the body. They are found virtually in every part of the body except in some parts of the body such as the Lips, the nail beds, the penis, the clitoris, and the Labia minora. This sweat is less viscous, and it is not associated with hair follicles. The sweat of the eccrine gland is produced in the glandular body and is sent to the surface of the skin through the sweat duct. The gland is more in the soles and palms with about 250–550 glands/cm2. The rate of sweat production in men is higher than that of women and according to an article a person at a moderate temperature would produce 500 mL to 750 mL of sweat in a day. When a person is working and doing exercise in a humid environment, they can produce up to 10 liters of sweat per day. While sweating the body secretes water, fluids, as well as Sodium chloride.
Depending on the type of sweat produced, there can be Emotional sweat and thermoregulatory sweat produced by the eccrine gland. With emotional sweat, the eccrine glands in the sole of the feet, and the palm of the hand start to secrete first, and the armpits, then start to move to other parts of the body. This is always visible in nervous, tensed, and emotionally scared people while with thermoregulation type of sweating, the sweating starts with the scalp in the forehead, then to the body, followed by the palms and the feet. There are environmental factors that could influence the rate of sweat, and these include the ambient air temperature, water vapor in the air (humidity), clothing (sports padding, coats, and other equipment that cover the body), exercise intensity, and the intensity of work.
While sweat can create more sweat when needed, there can be clinical conditions associated with sweating that can be detrimental. These Conditions include
Hyperhydrosis, is a condition with excessive excretion of sweating above the quantity needed for thermoregulation. This commonly affects the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and armpits. The condition can be either idiopathic, due to neurological conditions, neoplastic conditions, infectious disorders, endocrine disorders, and cases of drug reactions.
Patients that suffer from Hyperhydrosis can be treated with botulinum toxin injection, and the use of antiperspirants, which contain aluminum-based compounds and can block the sweat glands thereby reducing sweating.
Cystic Fibrosis is another condition where there is ineffective reabsorption of salt. It is a congenital disease in which the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator that normally inhabits the apical membrane of epithelial cells is defective, causing the sweat gland not to be able to reabsorb chloride. Other sweat conditions include lamellar ichthyosis, Hidradenitis suppurativa, and Hypohydrotic ectodermal dysplasia. Medications and treating the underlying causes of this conditions is very important.
Sweat is a very important part of our bioactivity. If we do not sweat, it can be detrimental just as much as when we sweat too much. While there are three types of sweat glands, the Apocrine and the eccrine glands are the two main glands that we can tell their functions. While one helps in thermoregulation, the is triggered by hormonal changes and emotional sensation. The sweat from the apocrine glands are the ones that gives odor as a result of its composition and floral bacteria acting on it.
National Library of Medicine - Physiology of sweat gland function: The roles of sweating and sweat composition in human health
National Library of Medicine - Anatomy, Skin Sweat Glands
International Hyperhidrosis Society - Understanding Sweating
Kenhub - Structure and function of the sweat gland
Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology - Eccrine Sweat Gland and Its Regeneration: Current Status and Future Directions
Am I the only one who didn't know of the types of swear?. This piece has truly been educational.
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yeah sweat is very important for us
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