Body mapping of regional sweat distribution in young and older males
journal contributionposted on 01.10.2020, 13:31 by Nicole Coull, Anna West, Simon Hodder, Patrick Wheeler, George Havenith
Abstract Purpose Given the pressing impact of global warming and its detrimental effect on the health of older populations, understanding age-related changes in thermoregulatory function is essential. Age differences in regional sweat distribution have been observed previously, but given the typically small measurement areas assessed, the development of whole body sweat maps for older individuals is required. Therefore, this study investigated age-related differences in regional sweat distribution in a hot environment (32 °C/50%RH) in young and older adults, using a body mapping approach. Methods Technical absorbent pads were applied to the skin of 14 young (age 24 ± 2 years) and 14 older (68 ± 5 years) males to measure regional sweat rate (RSR) at rest (30 min) and during exercise (30 min), at a fixed heat production (200 W m−2). Gastrointestinal (Tgi) and skin temperature (Tsk), heart rate, thermal sensation, and thermal comfort were also measured. Results Whole body sweat maps showed that despite equal heat production, healthy older males had significantly lower gross sweat loss (GSL) than the young and significantly lower RSR at almost all body regions at rest and at the hands, legs, ankles, and feet during exercise. The lower sweat loss in the older group coincided with a greater increase in Tgi and a consistently higher Tsk at the legs, despite subjectively feeling slightly cooler than younger individuals. Conclusion These findings support the evidence of age-related deterioration in both autonomic and subjective responses in the heat and highlight the lower extremities as the most affected body region.
Loughborough University (Design School)
- Design and Creative Arts
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences