It was many years ago that the skin—and the sweat glands in particular—were supposed to act vicariously for the kidneys as an excretory organ when the renal tissue is incapacitated for its normal function. Thus, according to a popular textbook of the middle of the last century,
The cutaneous and urinary excretions seem to be vicarious, not merely in regard to the amount of fluid which they carry off from the blood, but also in respect to the solid matter which they eliminate from it. It appears that at least 100 grains of effete azotized matter are daily thrown off from the skin; and any cause which checks this excretion must increase the labor of the kidneys, or produce an accumulation of noxious matter in the blood. Hence attention to the functions of the skin, at all times a matter of great importance, is peculiarly required in the treatment of
THE FUNCTION OF THE SWEAT GLANDS. JAMA. 1926;87(2):100–101. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680020028011
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