Sweating is a natural process that we all experience. In fact, it is a healthy mechanism since it helps in filtering out the toxins from our bodies, which in turn, helps in strengthening our immune system. In addition, it also helps in cooling down our bodies and in maintaining proper body temperature.

However, excessive of anything is not ideal, to say the least. And the same applies to sweat. Do you think you sweat more than the people around you? Or do you think you completely drench your clothes every time you run up a stair? Do you feel the necessity to wipe the sweat off your hand numerous times before shaking hands with someone? Do you find sweat literally dripping from your fingers as if you have just washed your hands in them?

If all of this rings true to you, then it is likely that you are suffering from excessive sweating. It is a medical condition. However, there is nothing major to be afraid of. Many people across the globe suffer from this condition and if you take care of it productively, then you can actually combat it.

In our article today, we are going to look into the various aspects of excessive sweating. We are going to learn about its signs, its causes, its preventive measures, and whether it poses any serious health risk to you or not. But before anything else, we need to understand what this medical condition is at its core. Let’s get into it then.

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Excessive sweating is a medical condition that is also known as hyperhidrosis disorder. When a person suffers from this condition, they can even sweat in the unlikely of scenarios such as sweating in cool weather or sweating while sitting idle. Essentially, the people who suffer from this don’t need a trigger to sweat.

Naturally, there are different variations or degrees to which people sweat. This is very much similar to the variations people have in their other bodily fluids. People suffering from hyperhidrosis start sweating more easily than others.

Sometimes, this disorder is the result of some other medical condition such as hyperthyroidism or menopause. Needless to say, hyperhidrosis is extremely uncomfortable. After all, no one wants to sweat all day, every day.

In a recent study, it was found that around 4.8 per cent of Americans suffer from this medical condition. Please note that this is just the official count. The actual number may be even large. This is mainly because many people underestimate its effect and think it is nothing out of the ordinary to sweat more than an average person. As a result, many refuse to get medically treated for this.

Categorically speaking, there are two types of hyperhidrosis. They are as follows:

Primary Hyperhidrosis

Also known as focal hyperhidrosis, when a person suffers from this type of hyperhidrosis, they experience excessive sweating in their underarms, hands, feet, and face, without any rhyme or reason. This usually begins in childhood. Around 30 to 50 per cent of the people who suffer from this condition inherit it from their genes.

You need to bear in mind that primary hyperhidrosis doesn’t lead to any illness. To put it simply, it doesn’t put your health at risk medically, but of course, it can cause a lot of discomfort and distress. It mainly results from small malfunctions in your nervous system.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis

In contrast to primary hyperhidrosis, the people who suffer from secondary hyperhidrosis sweat all over their bodies instead of one focus area. Generally, these people sweat more during their sleep. People can develop this type of hyperhidrosis due to cancer, heart disease, menopause, hyperthyroidism, stroke, adrenal gland disorders, lung disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, obesity, lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout, among others.

It is very important to decipher the reasons behind the surge of excessive sweating since it will help you combat it. Therefore, we highly recommend you to visit a dermatology clinic and consult a doctor as soon as you discover that your sweating level is excessive when compared to your peers.

Some people wonder if anxiety can also lead to hyperhidrosis. Well, this is a bit tricky! People who have anxiety, they tend to sweat more than others, but their sweating is significantly different from the way people suffering from hyperhidrosis sweat.

As far as other reasons of sweating are concerned, we have to talk briefly about the sweating caused by certain types of medication. Some notable medications that can result in sweating are as follows:

• Specific antibiotics
• Some supplements
• Blood pressure medication
• Psychiatric drugs
• Medication for dry mouth
• Hormonal medication
• Pain medication
• Diabetic medication
• Stimulants
• Thyroid medications

What is Excessive Sweating a Sign of?

As we have stated above, excessive sweating is not healthy and can be a sign of hyperhidrosis. Getting a medical consultation can help you in making sure the situation doesn’t get too serious.

Therefore, if you notice that you are sweating excessively all of a sudden and without any explanation, you need to take a note of that. Remember, unexpected sweating can also be the first sign of an underlying heart problem or even a heart attack.

Sometimes when we don’t wipe off the sweat from our skin immediately, it can lead to skin irritation or itching. If this continues for a long time, chances are high that you will develop hives or rash. One such skin condition is that of cholinergic urticaria.

If your sweating is accompanied by seizures, chest pain, urination, fatigue, flushing, or insomnia, then it means that you might be suffering from hyperthyroidism and carcinoid syndrome. On the other hand, if your sweating is accompanied by feelings of nausea or dizziness, it may be a sign of hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar level.

When it comes to sweating accompanied by fever, it clearly denotes that you are suffering from a viral or bacterial infection that may lead to tuberculosis or malaria, both of which can be fatal.

If you notice that you are sweating on only one side of your body, then it might be a rare care of the nervous system disorder known as Harlequin syndrome. Besides, it could also be an indication of an abscess, stroke, and brain tumour. Other notable health conditions arising from sweating on one side of the body include Horner’s syndrome and lung cancer.

When Should I be Concerned about Sweating?

When you notice that the garment that you are wearing is immediately drenched within a few moments of you wearing it, you should be concerned. If the people around you notify you that your sweating is unusually excessive, it is time for you to get concerned about it.

Other than these, you should be concerned about your sweating if it is clubbed with the following conditions:

• Urination
• Fatigue
• One-sided sweating
• Dizziness
• Light-headedness
• Chest pain
• Seizures
• Flushing
• Insomnia
• Cough
• Fever
• Skin rash
• Skin hives
• Panic attacks

What Deficiency Causes Excessive Sweating?

A deficiency in Vitamin D causes excessive sweating. In the busy life that we lead, we often forget to ensure that we are providing all the essential minerals and vitamins to our bodies. Naturally, when a lack in vitamin D is noticed by your body, it responds by sweating profusely. A deficiency in vitamin D can also lead to gut troubles, dizziness, and bone ache.

To ensure that your body gets adequate vitamin D, you need to include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. Here are some of the vitamin D-rich foods that you can intake:

• Cod liver oil
• Salmon
• Egg yolks
• Canned tuna
• Sardines
• Herring
• Mushroom
• Orange juice
• Cow’s milk
• Soy milk
• Cereal
• Oatmeal

Please keep in mind that sunlight is the biggest source of vitamin D. So, be sure to take some natural sunshine every day. However, do protect yourself from the harmful UV rays of the sun by wearing a sunscreen that has an SPF of a minimum 30 every time you step outside.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Cancer?

Excessive sweating is not always a sign of cancer. However, if it is a case of night sweating and if it is accompanied with notable weight loss or fever, then it might be a sign of cancer. The two types of cancers that are associated with night sweating are lymphoma and leukaemia (blood cancer).

Sometimes, the reverse can also happen. This means that you can develop night sweating as a result of the treatment you receive for curing prostate, breast, or gynaecologic cancer.

How Can I Stop Excessive Sweating?

In order to avoid excessive sweating, you can do the following things:

• Try and make sure that you wear breathable fabric that offers you enough ventilation.
• Avoid spicy foods as much as you can.
• Keep your ambience cool. You can do so by making sure that your blinds and curtain remain closed during summer.
• Use antiperspirants (however, don’t overuse them).
• Take medical help.

On a surface level, sweating seems harmless, and it sure is. But when it exceed in its limit, that is the time you need to pay close attention to your health. Don’t ignore it, after all, health is wealth.

Author's Bio: 

Mark Tyler is a traditionally trained pharmaceutical expert with board certification in Integrative medicine. Having spent his formative years working around the globe in some of the largest medical centres, Tyler has also been on the forefront of public speaking wherein he has been invited to speak on the reach of medicine and the growth of pharmaceutical business in developed countries.