Emotions are contagious – these days they are not just a beautiful phrase, but a scientifically proven fact. In 2015, European scientists conducted a study that showed that people perceive the happiness or negative experiences of others not only from facial expressions and words, but also from the smell coming from the body.
This phenomenon has been called behavioral synchronization. It is not yet known which specific chemicals cause this phenomenon, but the discovery is quite interesting.
You can feel with your nose not only emotions but also diseases. Before the invention of X-rays, ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, physicians mastered this art to perfection. The doctors smelled the patients’ breath, sweat, and even tasted their urine. In modern medicine, the need for such strange, at first glance, rituals has disappeared. After all, clinics now have a wealth of high-precision diagnostic equipment – they can “examine” the patient’s body from the inside and analyze thousands of different substances. However, do not neglect the experience of the past. The way your body smells can reveal many health problems.
After a long run or strenuous workout in the gym, anyone sweats a lot, but others are in no hurry to pinch their nose. However, many people notice that in times of intense stress, sweat begins to smell unpleasant. And there is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon.
The fact is that the skin contains different types of sweat glands. During physical activity, the secretory glands are mainly activated. They are scattered throughout the body and secrete a fluid that is mainly water. It contains very few electrolytes and some other substances and practically does not smell.
During stress, the responsive glands are activated, which are located only in specific areas, mainly in the armpits, perineum, face, head, chest. They secrete a thicker off-white secretion with a high content of lipids, sugars, ammonia. When such sweat mixes with bacteria that live on the surface of the skin, it causes an unpleasant odor.
If you sweat a lot and your sweat smells strong and unpleasant, you may need to pay attention to your diet. This is especially true for lovers of such spicy foods as garlic, red and black pepper, mustard, ginger, horseradish.
Also, the skin can smell strongly due to the frequent use of pork, beans, coffee, chocolate, strong tea, cocoa and some carbonated beverages. Lovers of onions, curry and cumin produce many sulfur-like compounds in their bodies. They are released through the skin, mixed with sweat and change its smell.
The term “hyperhidrosis” refers to increased sweating, which can be caused by many different factors. In some cases, it indicates a serious illness. When sweat is released in large quantities, it accumulates on the surface of the skin, mixes with bacteria and begins to smell bad. There are two types of hyperhidrosis:
- Primary hyperhidrosis is an individual feature of the body, not related to other conditions. Most of the time, it has a focal character: only the armpits, legs or palms sweat.
- Secondary hyperhidrosis can be caused by various health problems, some medications.
One of the most common causes of hyperhidrosis is hormonal changes in the body.
It is often normal. For example, teenagers sweat a lot, women during menopause. If we talk about diseases, then most often they lead to excessive sweating: diabetes, thyroid disorders, low blood sugar, certain cancers, disorders of the nervous system, infections.
If you sweat excessively and your sweat smells strong, you should see a doctor. The specialist will understand the causes and tell you how to deal with this symptom.
Dry facts: how to beat hyperhidrosis
In order for the body’s cells to properly absorb glucose, it needs insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. If it is produced in insufficient quantities or the tissues stop responding properly to it, diabetes develops. Glucose is no longer absorbed and its level in the blood increases. However, cells still need energy, so they start using active lipids (fats) as fuel. A complication of diabetes develops – diabetic ketoacidosis.
When lipids are destroyed in the body, special compounds – ketones are formed. One of them is acetone. It is excreted through the skin, through saliva, urine and causes a specific odor of rotten apples.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is much more common in type 1 diabetes (when no insulin is produced), but it can also occur in type 2 (when insulin is produced but the cells become less sensitive to it). This complication indicates that the patient is not receiving proper treatment and that his blood glucose level is very high. Ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition. It lowers the pH of the blood – it becomes more acidic and this can lead to death.
In addition to the specific smell of the breath, skin and urine, the following signs may indicate that a patient with diabetes has developed ketoacidosis:
- frequent urination;
- severe dry mouth.
- high blood glucose – can be checked with a glucometer.
- High levels of ketones in the urine – can be tested with test strips.
The liver is one of the largest human organs. It performs many important functions, including purifying the blood of harmful substances that come from outside or are formed as a result of life. When this organ stops working properly, these substances accumulate in the blood, are excreted in sweat and make it smell bad. Most often, this is caused by hepatitis (inflammation) and cirrhosis (a condition in which the normal tissue of an organ dies and is replaced by scar tissue). These conditions can be caused by viruses, alcohol and other toxic substances, certain drugs, autoimmune reactions.
The liver plays a key role in nitrogen metabolism. If it can not process the excess nitrogen, which is formed during the destruction of proteins and nucleic acids (DNA, RNA), then the skin begins to smell like ammonia. This can be caused by illness, dehydration, a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
In hepatic impairment, the use of sulfur-containing amino acids is reduced. Because of this, sulfur-containing compounds, such as dimethylsulfide, methanothiol, accumulate in the body. Because of the former, the mouth of a sick person smells of rotten eggs and garlic (the so-called foetor hepaticus, or “breath of the dead”). The second one smells like rotten cabbage. Normally, these compounds are part of the intestinal gas.
Liver dysfunction can be asymptomatic for a long time. Many patients are already transported to clinics with severe jaundice and severe hepatic impairment – treating such patients is already much more difficult. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the symptoms and, if they occur, see a doctor immediately:
- pain or discomfort below the right side.
- nausea, vomiting;
- bitter taste in the mouth;
- loss of appetite;
- yellow skin tone, white eyes.
- itchy skin;
- dark urine;
- light, discolored stool.
The main task of the kidneys is to filter the blood and remove harmful metabolic products from the body in the urine. With kidney failure, this function is reduced and urea, formed as a result of the breakdown of proteins, accumulates in the blood. The body tries to get rid of it in other available ways and the breath through the skin starts to smell like ammonia. The smell of ammonia along with urea is reminiscent of that of cat feces.
This is a dangerous condition called uremia. According to the US National Kidney Foundation, the most common cause of kidney failure (in 66% of cases) is kidney damage in diabetes and high blood pressure. These complications are indicated by such points as:
- swelling – most often under the eyes, hands, feet.
- reducing the amount of urine.
- high blood pressure, which is difficult to reduce with the help of drugs.
- increased fatigue, poor sleep.
- shortness of breath during exercise.
- loss of appetite.
18 signs that it ‘s time to check your kidneys
Often, kidney damage in diabetes and hypertension is asymptomatic for a long time and is detected only by the results of laboratory tests.