” asked the doctor.
“You know, it’s hard to explain, but I feel like if I stop sweating I will die.”
The doctor looked at him for a moment and then burst out laughing. The patient was taken into an office and told that he had cancer; not of the lungs or liver but of the brain. There seemed little doubt about his chances for recovery; unfortunately they were not very good at all. He could live six months or so with surgery but there was no chance after that even if he survived surgery without complications (which is unlikely). His options were limited: chemotherapy would prolong life by several months while radiation did nothing whatsoever except spread the cancer throughout his body making survival impossible. There was one more option which totally amazed him—if he stopped sweating entirely then maybe this disease would just go away…but how on earth could anyone do that? “Well, sir” said the doctor “I can tell you exactly why you are dying—because your body doesn’t want to lose heat! If you don’t sweat enough your blood pressure drops dangerously low…. You see sir, in order to get rid of extra heat stored in your system we need both water loss from evaporation as well as energy expenditure in raising our core temperature due to increased metabolism when working up a sweat…and since most people don’t work up much of a sweat my guess is that you aren’t removing enough water