What is excessive sweating?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical term for excessive sweating. Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis affects almost all the people. Both children and adults are affected by it. Hyperhidrosis can be primary hyperhidrosis where the person sweats profusely without any known cause and secondary hyperhidrosis where excessive sweating is due to some illness or underlying medical conditions.
Is excessive sweating a medical problem?
Yes. Excessive sweating can be a medical problem. Hyperhidrosis is classified into two main types.
- PRIMARY IDIOPATHIC HYPERHIDROSIS OR FOCAL HYPERHIDROSIS: In primary focal hyperhidrosis a person sweats excessively on a specific part of the body. The cause of primary hyperhidrosis is unknown. A person perspires profusely on both the feet, hands and armpits. The sweat glands in these regions are over-active that leads to profuse sweating. The cause may be hereditary. Sweating can vary and sometimes it can be trigger by some factors such as spicy foods, stress and depressions.
- SECONDARY IDIOPATHIC OR FOCAL HYPERHIDROSIS: Excessive sweating happens all over the body that is it is generalized. Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused because of severe body disorders or underlying medical conditions. It can also be caused due to some medications and drugs used to treat a particular disorder.
Medical problems that can cause excessive sweating are discussed below-
- CANCERS: Cancers such as Hodgkin’s disease and Lymphoma is excessive sweating a medical problem. People with lymphoma have swollen lymph nodes, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, elevated body temperature and profuse sweating at night. Leukemia or blood cancer patients also sweat excessively.
- HEART DISEASES: Heart diseases like asthma and bacterial endocarditis can lead to excessive sweating associated with fever, chest pain and shortness of breath.
- NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS: Neurological disorders affecting the brain and the nervous system can cause excessive sweating in a person. Medical problems such as injuries in the spinal cord, autonomic nervous system injuries, epilepsy, cerebral dysfunction, encephalitis and any associated brain disorders can result in hyperhidrosis.
- INFECTIONS: Infections such as tuberculosis and malaria which is accompanied with chills and fevers causes excessive sweating in a person. Tuberculosis patients usually have high body temperatures at night due to fever and this cause them to sweat profusely. Excessive sweating is common in patients with viral infections affecting the immune system such as HIV infections.
- HYPERTHYROIDISM: Hyperthyroidism is another medical problem which causes excessive sweating. It is a condition where the thyroid gland becomes over-active because of excess iodine, production of excess thyroid hormones or inflammation of the thyroid glands. This problem causes rapid production of thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism causes restlessness, weight loss, goiter and increased sweating.
- DIABETES: Diabetic patients tend to sweat excessively at night and during physical exercises.
- HYPOGLYCEMIA: Hypoglycemia is a medical condition where the blood glucose level is lowered. Hypoglycemia occurs when a diabetic patient takes excess quantity of insulin to maintain the blood sugar. Hypoglycemia can result in fatigue, nervousness, headache, coma, convulsions and excessive sweating.
- MENOPAUSE: Excessive sweating called as night sweat or hot flashes is common in menopause women. Excessive sweating at night happens because of changes in the levels of estrogen hormone. Men also experiences male menopause or andropause which causes male hormone progesterone to fluctuate.
OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS INCLUDE-
Gout, shingles, glaucoma, respiratory diseases, alcoholism, hormonal disorders, obesity and Parkinson’s disease.
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