We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Sweat Test?

By Cindy Quarters
Updated Feb 03, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A sweat test is a medical test used to measure the amount of chloride excreted from the body along with sweat. The amount is measured over a specific period of time and is used to determine whether a child has, or may have, cystic fibrosis. This disease causes victims to produce increased concentrations of both chloride and sodium in their sweat.

Cystic fibrosis can cause children not to grow, to have digestive problems and to have a variety of serious respiratory problems. Cystic fibrosis was a death sentence in the first half of the 1900s and affected children usually did not live beyond their first year. Improved treatments mean people diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in the 21st century can expect to live into adulthood, though the disease requires constant management.

The excess sodium produced in sweat — as much as two to five times greater than normal — is often the first indicator that there is a problem. Parents often report to the child’s physician that the child tastes salty. This observation is generally enough to cause the doctor to order a sweat test. Such children will frequently have a positive test, resulting in a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.

A sweat test helps doctors diagnose this disease in children as young as 2 days old, though infants this age may not produce enough sweat for an accurate reading. The test doesn’t require any special preparation, and children who are going to be tested may go about their normal activities until the time of the test. Once at the office or lab, a sweat test will take about an hour.

The procedure for the sweat test is fairly simple. A chemical that causes the child to produce sweat is applied to his or her arm. A weak, painless electrical current is then used to further trigger sweating in the test area. The sweat is then collected and tested for elevated amounts of chlorine and sodium.

Although a sweat test is often used to confirm a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, it can be inconclusive. In these instances, the doctor may order additional testing to confirm the presence or absence of the disease. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is sometimes collected from saliva or blood and examined for genetic indicators of cystic fibrosis. No matter how the diagnosis is made, treatment for this disease begins as early as possible. Patient care is a lifelong process.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.