The human body has a special cooling mechanism that involves the production and secretion of sweat across the body. Sweat is made up of many different components including water and salt. Sweat is used to regulate the temperature of the body. It is also used to pass some of the body waste out which is then washed off the skin during subsequent bathing. Sweating tends to be pronounced in warm and humid climates. This is essentially because the body requires more cooling. The presence of sweat in humid weather is a result of the slower than normal process of evaporation because of the atmospheric humidity that exists. People in extremely dry but hot weather may not experience sweat even though their bodies are releasing sweat continuously.
A sweat test is a medical procedure that uses a sample of sweat from an individual and tests it for its concentration of sodium chloride, commonly known as salt. An increased concentration of sodium chloride may be caused by many different possibilities. A person who is improperly hydrated will have an abnormal level of salt in their blood. The same goes for someone who has not been well nourished. There are hormonal conditions or local skin medications that can affect the ratio of salt in the sweat. Finally, there is the serious condition of cystic fibrosis which affects the salinity of the sweat. This condition is inherited from an affected parent. The gene that controls the manufacture of sweat and mucus is affected in individuals with cystic fibrosis. This causes the mucus to be abnormally thick and sticky and the sweat to be abnormally salty. The sweat test is thus a simple and effective method of diagnosing a person with cystic fibrosis. It must be noted that cystic fibrosis is life threatening and is a progressive, debilitating condition. There is no known cure for the condition and it tends to prove fatal for all the people suffering from it. The symptoms can be managed to an extent but the condition will affect the quality of life of the individual concerned.
A borderline sweat test result is a result where the ratio of sweat in a sample is slightly higher than normal but not extremely high. This could be a result of any error in the testing procedure or could indicate cystic fibrosis as well. A borderline test usually means that the patient will be tested again immediately or within a few days of the original test.More articles from the Medical Tests Category