Human beings have two functionally distinct sets of eccrine sweat glands. One populates the entire skin with the exception of the palms and soles. These thermally responsive glands play a key role in heat adaptation. In fact, thermally responsive eccrine glands are a uniquely human attribute. The other set of eccrine glands responds only to emotional stimulation and is analogous to the glands in frictional skin (paws) of other mammals. These emotionally responsive glands are present primarily in the palms and soles. Eccrine glands in the axillae are unusual in their responsiveness to both thermal and emotional stimulation.
The rate of sweating, whether of emotional or thermal origin, displays great individual variability. Copious thermally stimulated sweat as a result of exercise is considered "healthy," whereas excessive emotionally stimulated sweating is regarded as a sign of weakness and socially unacceptable by most persons. The dermatologist is, therefore, often consulted by patients
Dobson RL. Treatment of Hyperhidrosis. Arch Dermatol. 1987;123(7):883–884. doi:10.1001/archderm.1987.01660310051012
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: