‘Excessive Sweating’ Is a Real Medical Condition — and It Could Be a Sign of Something Much More Serious

When you exercise intensely or spend time in the heat and humidity, you probably sweat a lot. This is completely normal.

Unfortunately, excessive sweating sometimes plagues the lives of innocents even when they’re just sitting inside in an air-conditioned house.

The condition, calledĀ hyperhidrosis, often has no known cause. Some people have to go to extreme measures, such as surgery or other invasive procedures, to take care of the sweat glands causing them unnecessary emotional distress.

Occasionally, seeking help for excessive sweating might lead to blood and other tests to determine if you have hyperhidrosis — or a much more serious underlying condition making you miserable.

Doctors will check to see if you have any type of thyroid issue that could explain your excessive sweating. But that isn’t the only condition that can cause this embarrassing problem.

Menopause hot flashes

Menopause hot flashes | Highwaystarz-Photography/Getty Images

Menopause

The drastic hormonal shifts that occur during menopause cause all kinds of turmoil for women who experience it. In addition to mood swings, sleep troubles, and lowered sex drive, it can also produce hot flashes.

These episodes often result in excessive sweating, since the body’s temperature changes trigger the sweat glands to help you cool down. If you’re going through menopause, it’s not uncommon to experience “night sweats” that disrupt your sleep and seem to make an already frustrating time much harder to bear.

Diabetes/Low blood sugar

Both primary types of diabetes and gestational diabetes (which sometimes occurs during pregnancy and subsides thereafter) cause a disruption in the body’s production and use of insulin to control blood sugar. Even if you have prediabetes or diabetes and don’t know it, abnormal blood sugar levels and their symptoms can act as a warning sign that something is dangerously wrong.

Excessive sweating is just one symptom of low blood sugar, the state your body enters when there isn’t enough glucose in your system (which can happen as a result of type 1 diabetes or fasting). Other symptoms might include fatigue, dizziness, headache, and more.

Senior man is seriously ill in hospital bed

Senior man is seriously ill in hospital bed | seb_ra/Getty Images

Infections

Bacterial infections aren’t always deadly — especially if antibiotics are available and used exactly as instructed. Depending on the type of infection, some people might experience a fever accompanied by fatigue, chills, excessive sweating, and more.

Serious infections can cause sepsis, which can progress into septic shock if it isn’t treated properly or in a timely manner. A higher than normal respiratory rate and heart rate or a temperature aboveĀ 101 F (38.3 C) or below 96.8 F (36 C) can all indicate you need medical attention.

A heart attack

This one’s a little different, since you wouldn’t notice you’re sweating more than usual just by one life-threatening cardiac event. But if you do start experiencing unusual sweating alongside other telltale heart attack symptoms, it’s always better to seek emergency care than to ignore it — even if it ends up being a false alarm.

You’re at a higher risk of having a heart attack if you’re over the age of 45, have high blood pressure, smoke, or have a history of heart attacks in your family. Also keep in mind that heart attack symptoms in women aren’t always the same ones men experience.

Everyone sweats — some more than usual. Always be aware of your symptoms, and don’t ignore anything that could secretly be making you sick.

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