HealthSniffing out illness: how body odor can reveal serious health issues

Sniffing out illness: how body odor can reveal serious health issues

Bad breath
Bad breath
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11:58 PM EST, January 16, 2024

Diabetes, one of the most common metabolic diseases, can significantly influence body odor.

The cause of this is ketoacidosis, which happens when the body doesn't have enough insulin to properly metabolize glucose.

Under these circumstances, the body uses fat as an energy source, leading the liver to produce ketones. These chemical substances can make the blood acidic when they build up in it.

In this state, body odor is often described as sweet and fruity, making it a noticeable symptom of diabetes, especially when it is accompanied by another unique symptom - acetone's smell from the mouth.

Mustiness: Liver Dysfunction

Liver dysfunction is another illness that can change body odor. This crucial organ for our metabolism is responsible for filtering out harmful substances from the blood and converting them into less harmful products that can be eliminated from the body.

If the liver's functions are compromised, it cannot effectively purify the blood from toxins. This leads to toxin accumulation in the body. These pollutants, when collecting in urine, sweat, and breath, may cause the skin to emit unpleasant odors reminiscent of mustiness, garlic, or rotten eggs.

Ammonia: Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is another serious illness impacting body odor. The kidneys' role is to filter the blood and eliminate toxins from our bodies.

When they cannot perform effectively, toxins accumulate in the body, causing the body to emit a smell similar to ammonia.

Potential for Other Odors

Body odor can be a significant diagnostic factor in early detection of the diseases mentioned above. Early detection can greatly enhance the effectiveness of treatment and the prospects for a full recovery.

Remember that changes in skin or sweat odor could also be connected to dietary factors, such as a lack of carbohydrates in one's diet, or hormonal imbalances.

If, however, a specific (i.e., different from previous) body odor persists for an extended period, and the reason for this change is unclear, it would be wise to consult a doctor immediately.

See also