Why do we sweat 2

Sweating cause: anatomy of sweating

Whether sport, heat or great excitement - the causes of sweating are diverse. Even if most people find sweating annoying, it fulfills a task that should not be underestimated: It serves the body's own temperature regulation and protects against overheating. How does this mechanism work and what does the nervous system have to do with it?

Sweat, sweat glands and the nervous system under the microscope

A brief excursion into biology helps to understand sweating and especially pathological sweating (hyperhidrosis). This shows what stimulates the production of the sweat glands and why certain factors trigger an overproduction of sweat secretions.

The sweat glands of humans are almost all over the body. You are one of the Appendages such as hair or nails. The glands are particularly dense in the area of ​​the soles of the hands and feet. In the ball-shaped Glandular end piece if the sweat is produced, it is connected to it Execution process. This ends in a skin pore through which the sweat then escapes.

Sweat glands

  • Sweat glands are appendages such as hair and nails. They are located in the deep leather skin (dermis).
  • A person has between 2 and 4 million sweat glands.

Regulation of body temperature

Above all, sweat regulates body temperature. The body fluid cools the skin during the evaporation process (evaporation cold). But also end products of the metabolism (urea, ammonia) are secreted with the help of the liquid. The sweat also holds that Acid mantle the skin in balance by inhibiting the growth of germs on the skin's surface. With this natural protective barrier function, the glandular secretion contributes to a healthy and balanced skin flora. The number of Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi is “kept in check” by the slightly acidic pH value of sweat.


  • On average, the human body secretes almost 1.5 liters of sweat secretion per day.
  • People sweat in their sleep both during the day and at night.
  • Sweating is an active process as a result of which energy is withdrawn from the body.
  • Sweat evaporates on the surface of the skin and thus regulates the body's heat balance.

Like other mammals, humans belong to those creatures of the same temperature that have to keep their body temperature - at least in the core of the body, in which the vital organs are located - constant at around 37 ° C. Regardless of the temperatures in the area.

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Thermoregulation - our fully automatic air conditioning

In order to be able to keep our core body temperature at about the same level, we have a sophisticated regulation system. This permanently creates a balance between

  • internal heat production - even at rest, heat is generated through metabolic processes - or heat absorption from outside at high ambient temperatures and
  • Heat dissipation to the outside.

Is it too cold, our body reduces heat emission by restricting blood flow to the arms and legs. As a result of the reduced blood flow, less heat is lost to the outside (on the other hand, filled blood vessels give off a lot of heat). On the other hand, the body produces more heat through muscle work. We do this arbitrarily by moving when we are cold. Involuntarily, without our wanting it, our muscles begin to tremble - we "tremble with cold" - to generate warmth

Is too warm for usRegardless of whether we have exhausted ourselves physically or whether the sun or the stove at home are doing too much of a good thing, the body has to give off more heat.

How we get rid of too much heat - heat release

Our body can generally give off heat four mechanisms:

  • Conduction: Molecule by molecule, the heat is transported from the inside to the outside in the direction of the cooler environment.
  • Thermal radiation: Our warm body radiates heat like a radiator via electromagnetic waves.
  • Heat flow: Our flowing blood washes away the heat with it.
  • evaporation: If sweat evaporates on the skin, a pleasant coolness is created, the so-called evaporation cold. However, dripping sweat or sweat flowing in streams is not very effective; it has to form a thin film on the skin in order to be able to evaporate well.

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Great heat - sweating a lot

If we have put a lot of strain on our body through work or sport or if the ambient temperature exceeds 35 degrees, the first three mechanisms of heat dissipation (see above) almost come to a standstill or are not effective enough. So if there is hardly any temperature difference between the inside of the body and the outside world, the body can almost only cool itself down through the evaporation of sweat. We sweat.

Good to know: In warm and humid surroundings, such as in tropical or subtropical regions, heat is more difficult for us to tolerate than in dry and hot regions. The reason for this lies in the fact that the body can evaporate less sweat in warm, humid air and thus overheat more quickly.

Where does the sweat come from?

The production facilities for the cooling liquid on our skin are the smallest organs that are distributed over the body: glands. Our body has innumerable glands, some produce watery liquids, others slimy ones. Some glands release their secretion into the bloodstream, e.g. hormone glands, others to the body surface via ducts, e.g. lacrimal or salivary glands. The sweat glands also belong to the latter type.

Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system gives the "start command" for sweat production. The process is controlled by the nerves. This is a Messenger substance called Acetylcholine poured out. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that commands that Sweat production to begin delivering to the sweat glands. The autonomic nervous system controls the sweating process, but also vital vital functions such as blood pressure, heartbeat, breathing and metabolism. All regulation processes that take place there cannot be willingly influenced by humans, that is, they run autonomously.

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