Dictionary » S » Sweat




The fluid or moisture secreted from the sweat glands to the surface of the skin (through skin pores) during perspiration


Sweat is the byproduct of perspiration. It is released by the body of certain animals primarily to regulate body temperature especially as cued by external factors such as humidity and ambient temperature. Another factor that incites the body to secrete sweat is physical or emotional stress.

Sweat is comprised mainly of water. It also contains small amounts of solutes (about 0.2-1%).1 When one sweats, the body is losing both water and solutes but water is the main component that is primarily lost relative to the amount of solutes lost. Also, the amount of solute that is lost varies. In a cold environment and the absence of exercise, not much sodium is lost (~<5 mmols/day).1

Sweating results when the thermosensitive neurons in the preoptic and anterior regions of the hypothalamus are triggered by impulses coming from the temperature receptors in the skin.

Word origin: From English swāt, sweten, swǣtan (to sweat), derivative of swāt See also:

Related term(s):

1 Kerry Brandis. Fluid Physiology: Sweat. Link

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