- Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
- Heat Exhaustion
- Heat Stroke
- Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
- The Facts
- Symptoms and Complications
- Making the Diagnosis
- Treatment and Prevention
- What is hyperhidrosis?
- What happens to the body?
- When to see your GP
- You should make a visit to the doctor if you think you are sweating excessively and:
- Got a story for Metro.co.uk?
- How to stop sweating in the summer heat
- And then…
- Now read:
- Why Don’t I Sweat?
- Why do I need to sweat?
- Why am I not sweating?
- Graves’ Disease
- When To Call a Professional
- Learn more about Graves’ Disease
- Further information
- Hot? Cold? Haywire? What dysautonomia feels like.
- Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
- How is excessive sweating treated?
- What about surgery?
- What are the possible complications?
Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
When temperatures rise in Austin, you need to know how to prevent and respond to heat related illnesses.
Being exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time or engaging in vigorous activities in high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, especially if you are dehydrated or are taking certain medications such as antihistamines, blood pressure medication, or antidepressants.
Usually sweat evaporates from the skin to help cool the body. It is harder for sweat to evaporate if:
- The humidity is high
- You are wearing tight or layered clothing that covers most of your skin
- You are dehydrated, which will cause you to produce less sweat
Heat exhaustion is a less serious condition than heat stroke. Symptoms can include:
- Normal or only slightly elevated body temperature
- Cool, moist (clammy), pale skin
- Sweating (sometimes heavily)
- Rapid pulse
- Decreased blood pressure
- Dark urine
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid/shallow breathing
To respond to heat exhaustion:
- Move into the shade or an air conditioned space.
- Loosen clothing or remove as much clothing as possible.
- Drink cool water or non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages like sports drinks to help restore electrolyte balance.
- Take a cool shower or sponge bath.
- Spray cool water on yourself and sit in front of a fan or have others fan you.
- Massage or stretch cramping muscles.
- Monitor your temperature for changes in your condition that suggest heat stroke (see below).
- Call the UHS UHS Nurse Advice Line at (512) 475-6877 if you have questions.
- Seek emergency treatment or call 911 if attempts to decrease body temperature fail or if you experience chest pain, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting so that you can’t keep down fluids, or if you develop any of the symptoms of heat stroke (see below).
Heat stroke is an emergency situation in which the body loses its ability to cool itself. The internal body temperature rises to extremes, sometimes as high as 106 degrees F. Heat stroke can result in death if not treated promptly. Symptoms include:
- Very high body temperature, usually over 104 degrees F
- No sweating
- Hot, dry, red skin
- Rapid pulse
- Difficulty breathing
If body temperatures aren’t reduced, symptoms can progress to:
- Confusion, irritability, disorientation, or hallucinations
- Loss of consciousness and coma
To respond to heat stroke, CALL 911 or go to the closest emergency room. While waiting for EMS:
- Move the person into the shade or into air conditioning.
- Elevate their feet higher than their head to reduce the chance of shock.
- Remove clothing and attempt to cool them down by wrapping them in a cool, wet sheet or spraying them with cool water and fanning them.
- Put ice packs or cold compresses under their arms, on their groin area, and behind their neck.
- Give them cool drinks only if tthey are not disoriented and not vomiting.
- Stay with them until EMS arrives.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages, even if you’re not thirsty. Water is good, but sports drinks are better if you are engaging in vigorous activity in high temperatures.
- Drink enough to keep your urine very pale yellow. If it’s a dark yellow, or if you are going for long periods of time without urinating, you’re dehydrated. (Some medications and supplements can turn urine bright yellow or orange. If in doubt, ask a pharmacist or your healthcare provider about the medications and supplements you use.)
- Don’t stay outside in high temperatures for long periods of time. Take breaks indoors.
- Don’t engage in vigorous activity in the hottest part of the day – from 11am – 5pm.
- Wear loose, lightweight clothing made of fabric that breathes and allows your sweat to evaporate.
- If you start to feel very hot or have any of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, respond immediately as described above under “heat exhaustion.”
Heat stroke is also known as sunstroke, thermic fever, or siriasis. It happens when the body’s mechanisms for controlling temperature fail. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency needing immediate treatment. While many people feel sick and faint during heat waves, most of these people are suffering from heat exhaustion, a usually less serious condition, however it can progress to heat stroke if not recognized and treated properly.
There are two types of heat stroke: classic, non-exertional heat stroke (NEHS) and exertional heat stroke (EHS). Classic heat stroke happens most commonly to very young or older people, who have health risks and are in poor environmental conditions without access to air-conditioning and with limited access to fluids. Exertional heat stroke happens abruptly, more often to younger, healthy people who participate in strenuous physical activity.
Working or exercising in hot conditions or weather without drinking enough fluids is the main cause of heat stroke. You can get heat stroke by not replacing lost fluids over days or weeks, or you can bring it on in a few hours by exercising strenuously on a hot day without drinking plenty of liquids first.
Liquids help to cool us down by allowing the body to produce sweat. However, liquids are also necessary for bodily functions, such as keeping up blood pressure. You can lose large amounts of body fluid in the form of sweat without noticing any effects, but at a certain point the body will reserve the remaining fluid for vital functions and stop sweating. The body’s core temperature then shoots up, and cells start dying.
Sweat evaporates more rapidly in dry weather, cooling the body more efficiently than in humid weather. When working in humid conditions, the core temperature rises more rapidly. This is why weather forecasts add a humidity factor or heat index to represent how you will actually feel outdoors.
People with the following conditions are especially prone to heat stroke:
- chronic illnesses like heart disease
- older age
- Parkinson’s disease
- uncontrolled diabetes
- use of certain medications such as diuretics and antihistamines
- use of some psychoactive drugs such as cocaine
Heavy clothing and some skin conditions can also contribute to the occurrence of heat stroke.
Symptoms and Complications
The symptoms of heat stroke are quite different from those of heat exhaustion. Remember, heat exhaustion, if not treated, can lead to heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- moderately high core temperature (the temperature of the body’s internal organs, best measured with a rectal thermometer) of up to 40°C (104°F)
- cool, pale, clammy skin
- muscle cramps
- nausea or vomiting
- fatigue and weakness
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- possible fainting, but can be revived
A person suffering from heat exhaustion will usually be sweating profusely in an attempt to get rid of excess heat, but will have normal behaviour and cognition.
Symptoms of heat stroke:
- confusion, strange behaviour
- extreme weakness
- extremely high core temperature, above 40°C (104°F)
- hot, red, dry skin
- rapid pulse
- rapid, shallow breathing
- possible loss of consciousness
A person with heat stroke has stopped sweating (although their clothes may still be wet from sweat) due to a failure in their heat control system.
High core temperatures damage internal organs, especially the brain. The fluid loss can also produce dangerously low blood pressure. Most people who are killed by heat stroke die when their heart stops pumping effectively (circulatory failure). Even people who survive are likely to have permanent brain damage if their core temperature has been over 40.6°C (105°F) for more than an hour or two.
Making the Diagnosis
Heat stroke is diagnosed by looking at signs and symptoms, such as body temperature, and finding out about the person’s recent activities.
Treatment and Prevention
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Learn to recognize the symptoms listed above and take the appropriate action. The heat stroke victim needs to go to the emergency room as soon as possible, but the first step is to get the core temperature under control.
If you suspect someone has heat stroke, begin treating them immediately while someone else calls 9-1-1. Everything must be done to cool the heat stroke victim immediately. The most effective way is to remove them from the sun and immerse the body in cold water, such as a river, stream, or bathtub. You can also fan vigorously while misting with tepid water to help cool them down until help arrives. You can also remove most of their clothes, and apply ice water towels or packs to the groin, neck, armpits, and head.
If the person starts shivering, slow down the cooling treatment, because shivering raises core temperature. Take the person’s temperature every 10 minutes if you have a thermometer handy. You should aim for a core temperature of about 39°C (102°F), as too low can result in an slide towards dangerously low temperatures (hypothermia). All the while you should be making arrangements to get the victim to an emergency room. Watch for signs of respiratory arrest (breathing failure) and be ready to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (rescue breathing) if needed.
The heat exhaustion victim should also be put in a cool place. Lay them down and give small gulps of liquid every few minutes. “Sports” drinks are best but water is often more readily available. Sponge the victim with cool water and remove unnecessary clothing. You should watch carefully for signs of deterioration, but there’s no need to rush to a hospital for a normal case of heat exhaustion. Symptoms should subside within 2 to 3 hours.
The way to prevent these problems is to drink very large amounts of liquid during heat waves, especially if you’re planning on working or exercising outdoors. If you are exercising, you should consume approximately 500 mL to 1.8 L of water in the 3 hours before the activity and about 200 mL to 250 mL every 20 minutes during the activity. Fluid loss continues after the activity is over, so it is important to continue to consume water for several hours after exercise. Some experts suggest continuing until urine is pale in colour.
You shouldn’t take salt tablets unless you’re also drinking a lot of water. When in very hot environments, drink every hour whether you feel like it or not, since thirst is a late indicator of dehydration. To prevent heat stroke:
- Avoid heavy outdoor activities in the summer during the hottest times of the day (10 am to 3 pm).
- Stay out of the sun if possible.
- If you need to be in a hot environment, take 10 to 20 minutes of breaks per hour of activity in the shade or an air-conditioned space.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes – light colours reflect more sunlight – and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Try to relax in the shade during the hottest part of the day.
- Avoid coffee and alcohol, especially beer, due to their fluid loss effect.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Heat-Stroke
The sunshine during this week’s heatwave has been delighting thousands of people across the country but temperatures are set to soar even higher at the end of the week.
According to the Met Office, people in Rostherne in Cheshire experienced a high of 30.7C (87.2°F) on Tuesday, while Castlederg reached 27.1C (80.7°F), making it Northern Ireland’s hottest day of the year.
But with the heat comes plenty of sweat and while sweat patches may be embarrassing, there are some very useful purposes to our bodies releasing excess liquids.
A man had no problem dealing with sweat on a blow up mattress in the sea off of Bournemouth beach on June 26 (Picture: PA)
What is hyperhidrosis?
Excessive sweating – or hyperhidrosis – is common and can affect the whole body or only certain areas.
It’s normal to sweat when it’s hot, but if you are sweating when your body doesn’t need to cool down it may mean you are sweating too much.
The causes can range from illness to a side-affect of medication but can happen for no reason at all.
Dr Andrew Thornber, Chief Medical Officer at Now Patient said: ‘It’s perfectly normal to sweat and your skin is the largest organ of your body and sweating plays an important health role.
‘People who suffer with hyperhidrosis experience sweating to the point that moisture may literally drip from their hands, as well as other parts of their body like chest or feet.
‘Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and coke, and spicy food, such as curries or hot peppers, can cause sweating, especially on your face and head, as can alcohol – so try and eliminate these from your diet as much as is possible.’
It can be tricky finding ways to cool down, these women on Bournemouth Beach on Tuesday went for the ‘towel on the head’ technique (Picture: PA)
Dr Dawn Harper, from Embarrassing Bodies, has teamed up with Perspirex to explain the triggers for excessive sweating.
She said: ‘There are three types of excessing sweating, primary focal hyperhidrosis – this usually affects both hands or feet or armpits, secondary focal hyperhidrosis – this usually affects just one part of the body, i.e. armpits and generalised hyperhidrosis – this involves sweating all over the body.
‘Sweating can be triggered by heat, exercise, fever, anxiety and spicy foods.
‘In some people it can be triggered after eating. This is called gustatory sweating and tends to occur on the face, scalp and neck.’
Temperatures are expected to reach more than 30C in the final week of June (Picture: EPA)
What happens to the body?
Your body releases sweat to help regulate its body temperature to prevent you from overheating.
Sweating also helps your body to eliminate toxins, which supports proper immune function and helps prevent diseases related to toxic overload.
Sweating may help kill viruses and bacteria that cannot survive in temperatures above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as on the surface of your skin.
When to see your GP
Your GP may refer you for tests if they think another condition may be causing your sweating.
You should make a visit to the doctor if you think you are sweating excessively and:
- things you can do yourself aren’t helping
- it’s lasted for at least 6 months
- it stops you from getting on with your daily activities
- it happens at least once a week
- it happens at night
- you have a family history of excessive sweating
- you’re taking medication for another condition
Dr Dawn said: ‘How much we sweat varies hugely from individual to individual and even from day to day in each of us, as it depends on how active we are and the outside temperature and humidity.
‘But, if your sweating is dictating what clothes you wear or having an impact on your day to day life and personal confidence, chances are you have hyperhidrosis and you should speak to your doctor.’
You can find more information on treating hyperhidrosis on the NHS choices website.
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Sweat might feel (and smell) a little gross sometimes, but it plays a critical role in helping your body maintain its proper temperature. However, certain people sweat more than others, and excessive sweating can be an indication of an underlying health condition.
Your body is always sweating, even if you don’t notice it. When sweat evaporates, it cools the body, dissipating the heat generated by your metabolism. Visible beads of perspiration only appear on the skin when the output of sweat exceeds the rate of evaporation — something that most often occurs when it’s hot and humid, during periods of exercise or as a response to stress. Sweating excessively under these conditions is not uncommon and is usually not indicative of a health problem.
However, some people who experience excessive sweating suffer from a condition known as hyperhidrosis, which causes them to perspire more than is necessary to regulate body temperature. Hyperhidrosis can either be generalized — affecting the entire body — or can be localized to particular parts of the body.
Generalized hyperhidrosis is often a symptom of an underlying health condition, including metabolic disorders (such as hyperthyroidism), diabetes, infections or lymphatic tumors. Excessive sweating can also result from alcohol abuse or withdrawal, or be brought on by certain medications, particularly antidepressants. Changes in hormones brought on by menopause, as well as anxiety, have also been known to cause generalized hyperhidrosis.
Localized hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, is not usually a symptom of other conditions and is believed to stem from minor malfunctions within the nervous system. Also called primary focal hyperhidrosis, the condition — which usually shows up in the palms, armpits or soles of the feet — is also believed to run in families.
Primary focal hyperhidrosis is linked closely to anxiety and usually manifests in childhood or early adulthood. While the condition does not typically cause serious health complications, it can have detrimental effects on the emotional and psychological well-being of those who have it.
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How to stop sweating in the summer heat
When the temperature rises many men’s minds turn to sweat – and how to minimise it. After all, no one looks great standing there in a shirt with big damp circles under the arm.
The process of sweating is to help keep the body cool when the perspiration evaporates from the skin. It is a bigger problem for men as although there are slightly fewer sweat glands than women (around 2.5 million), they each produce more fluid. While working out, for example, a man can sweat on average up to two pints an hour.
There are two different sorts of sweat glands – the eccrine, which are found all over the body and produce an odourless light sweat, and the apocrine, which are concentrated in the scalp, armpits and groin. The latter release a heavier, fat-laden sweat that carries a distinct odour. The smell (AKA: BO) occurs when apocrine sweat breaks down and mixes with the bacteria on the skin. This can become a real problem in the heat as some men can sweat up to around an extraordinary two gallons a day.
So what should you be using? Well, deodorant protects against odour, while antiperspirant protects against sweat at the same time. Deodorant will keep your pits fresh, while an antiperspirant helps to control sweat, which is perfect if you want to avoid underarm wetness. Here’s a better breakdown and our top pieces of product advice to use in the current dog days of summer…
Antiperspirants actually prevent you sweating by utilising aluminium salts to block the sweat glands while deodorants function by masking smells. If you are applying antiperspirant rather than a deodorant it might be more effective to apply at night as the active ingredient has to go down into the sweat duct and clog it. Applying it at night can also minimise skin irritation, so you know what you should really be doing à la soir.
Here’s our top picks to try for yourself…
This antiperspirant stick is made up of black pepper, woody oakmoss and vetiver – AKA: the notes you need to freshen up with this summer. Invigorating is an understatement.
Antiperspirant by Molton Brown, £16. At amazon.co.uk
You can trust in Clinique’s fast-drying formula, powerful protection and long record of performance to see you through the dog days of summer.
Antiperspirant by Clinique, £22.85. At amazon.co.uk
The clue is in the name of the brand. Perspirex’s roll-on antiperspirant is clinically proven for its super strong and effective formula, offering protection for three to five days upon use.
Antiperspirant by Perspirex, £8. At amazon.co.uk
Deodorant is the product to go for if you’re less inclined to sweat. Many people believe that body odor is the result of extreme sweating but, actually, your sweat doesn’t have a scent on its own. As we’ve previously mentioned, it’s all down to the bacteria on your skin and it’s the formula of deodorant that breaks this down and eliminates those unhygienic scents we all want to avoid. Our top picks are as follows…
Boss’ spray boasts an aromatic scent, so you can trust that you’ll feel rejuvenated by its elegant ingredients while also receiving long-lasting protection.
Deodorant by Boss, £14.73. At amazon.co.uk
Dolce & Gabbana
There’s a reason this is called “the one”. This spicy oriental deodorant by Dolce & Gabbana is the perfect scent of rich masculinity. Trust us when we say it’s the ultimate form of protection too.
Deodorant by Dolce & Gabbana, £26. At Harrods. harrods.com
If it’s a gentle aroma you’re looking for in your deodorant, Hermès’ natural spray is a winner. Boasting a classic woody scent, it lasts all day long and is the ultimate comfort companion for your skin.
Deodorant by Hermès, £23.24. At amazon.co.uk
Now that you’ve prevented perspiration, the big question follows: what to wear? For head-to-toe attire for any occupation (and we mean any, from pushed-to-the-limit teacher to Canary Wharf hustler), all the fashionable answers lie in our heatwave dressing guide. But to get you started, here’s our top three upper-half staples to turn to after spraying. Wear each with some lightweight linen trousers and you’ll be breezing through this heatwave in style…
‘Tis the time to invest in, well, a vest. Our top pick? This simple tank by Sunspel – a solid base for any summer outfit, guaranteed to keep you cool in sweltering temperatures.
Vest by Sunspel, £32. At mrporter.com
A shirt is still a good shout in this heat, as long as you keep it lightweight and a bit billowing. Turn to Jacquemus’ open-collared design clad in a subtle floral print for a communication of elegance.
Shirt by Jacquemus, £255. At brownsfashion.com
It worked for James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, so it can work for you on this baking afternoon – the white T-shirt. Size it up a tad to avoid clinginess in the heat and opt for a design with a logo stamp to keep it stylish. We advise Dior.
T-shirt by Dior, £370. dior.com
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All products featured on the website are independently selected by our Editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Why Don’t I Sweat?
We all have a friend who never seems to break a sweat. As in, completely dry while the rest of us avoid wearing colorful clothing and discreetly wipe our brows at every turn. Maybe you are that friend? While other gym-goers have that glow—a blurry badge of fitness honor—you’ve barely got a drop above your brow.
Not dealing with perspiration might be nice at first, but if you find yourself unable to sweat you may be at risk of overheating or fainting. In fact, not being able to sweat could lead to major discomfort and potential danger.
Why do I need to sweat?
Here are the facts. You were born with between two to four million sweat glands. They aid your body in cooling down and regulating your temperature. Not only that, they’re a necessary evil in relieving muscles of excess heat. They also put salt back into your bloodstream. Two types of sweat glands carry out these duties—eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands perspire directly onto the skin surface. Their job is to cool that surface, expel electrolytes, lower body temperature, and maintain the skin’s acid mantle (which prevents bacteria from colonizing).
Apocrine glands are found mostly in the armpit. Unlike eccrine glands, they don’t expel sweat topically, but into hair follicles. The liquid secreted includes nutrients that are broken down by bacteria (making for that lovely odor). All in all, both types of glands are paramount to keeping your body safe.
So if sweating is not only good for us, but also vital to our well-being, why do some of us have such a hard time with it? Why do some of us not sweat at all, period? We contacted Clifford Stark, DO, Medical Director of Sports Medicine at Chelsea , and Director of Northshore LIJ Plainview Sports Medicine Fellowship to get answers.
Why am I not sweating?
“Decreased sweating, or “hypohidrosis” has many possible causes. While excessive sweating (“hyperhidrosis”) is generally benign and more of a social convenience issue, hypohidrosis can have some serious repercussions, such as hyperthermia, stroke, and even death.”
When asked about what causes hypohidrosis, Stark answered, “Causes can be very widespread, such as autonomic disturbances, autoimmune disorders, various medications, surgeries, tumors, nerve injuries, genetic disorders, to name only a few. That said, many individuals tend to sweat more or less than others, and where they sweat most also varies. The degree to which an individual lacks the ability to sweat can influence how much their exercise is affected, and the risks involved.”
Decreased sweating, or hypohidrosis can have some serious repercussions, such as hyperthermia, stroke, and even death.
Eager for more explanation? We were, too. Keep reading for a breakdown of possible reasons why you aren’t beading at the forehead or perspiring at the pits.
The most common reason for lack of sweating is dehydration. Lack of hydration before or after a workout means your body will be severely lacking in fluids. Since sweat largely consists of water, not having enough of it throughout your system means you won’t have enough to sweat out. In turn, this makes it tough for you to cool off and recover. Challenging workouts aside, just being outside in intense heat can get you damp, and not restoring the water content in your body can be hazardous.
It’s long been thought that men, having fewer sweat glands than women, have more active glands that produce more moisture. Thus, the notion that men sweat more than women.
Something of a hot topic, researchers have published quite a few studies that prove the idea to be true. One of these studies not only compared men and women, but also men and women of differing fitness levels. In the study, four groups (trained men, trained women, untrained men, untrained women) performed an hour long stationary bike routine while in a 86-degree fahrenheit room. The study’s author found that while fit men and women used a similar number of sweat glands while active, those glands in men produced more sweat. In line with this, untrained women sweat the least, reaching higher body temperatures and workout intensities before doing so.
While this has been studied multiple times, more recent findings argue that gender’s influence on the matter only makes for a 5% variance. So, the jury’s still out on this one.
The more you sweat, the less fit you are—we’ve all heard that. This comes from the idea that those who aren’t very active need to work harder in order to reach the same level of intensity as those who are. In actuality, the more you workout, the more likely you are to produce a greater amount of sweat. Ever wondered why professionals always appear soaked?
As with most things, the more you sweat the better your body gets at it. It’s likely that consistent exercising makes your body more efficient at cooling off, thus more sweat.
Not working up as much of a mist as your neighboring elliptical user? It’s possible that he or she has been doing this longer than you or that your workouts aren’t hard enough. Try an Aaptiv cycling class from one of our top trainers in the app and see if you notice a difference.
An uncontrollable reason you may not be able to perspire is, as Stark mentioned, hypohidrosis (also called anhidrosis). Hypohidrosis is a genetic disorder or mutation that results in being unable to produce sweat. While reported causes of the gene mutation include damage to sweat glands (more on that later), that reasoning alone left scientist to wonder how families of people could have the same disorder while possessing normal sweat glands.
One 2014 study in particular was able to crack the code. The researchers studied a Pakistani family, the children of which couldn’t sweat. Taking a deep dive into a physiological approach, they discovered that a mutation was present in one singular gene. The gene, ITPR2, controls basic cellular functions in sweat glands, such as creating a protein (InsP3R) that moves calcium ions in and out of cells. This function, specifically, is needed for many other cell tasks, too (like creating saliva). The study found that a mutation in the gene made for defective proteins that don’t assist in moving calcium. While not affecting other functions, the disorder made for an inability to sweat within the family.
This is something to consider if you’ve already checked all previous causes off (or have had an odd conversation with a family member who just can’t perspire either). When left unchecked it can lead to overheating, so ask your doctor about testing and treatment.
Medications, Medical Conditions, and Surgeries
As Stark stated, there are several more medical factors that could result in hyperhidrosis, including autonomic disturbances, autoimmune disorders, various medications, surgeries, tumors, and nerve injuries (yikes). Let’s break this down.
* Autonomic disturbances: Autonomic Dysfunction happens when the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is disturbed. Since your ANS controls a bevy of necessary functions such as heart rate, body temperature, sensation, digestion, and breathing rate, an impact can cause symptoms to arise. Since body temperature is involved, one symptom of a disturbed system is sweating too little or too much.
* Autoimmune disorders: Some autoimmune disorders can also be to blame. Systemic sclerosis and scleroderma—a duo of rare autoimmune disorders that tighten and harden connective tissue and skin— have been proven to influence anhidrosis. Sjögren’s Syndrome can also prevent sweating by blocking sweat glands with immune system cells, or destroying sweat glands altogether.
* Trauma to nerves that control sweating or trauma directly to the sweat glands can stop you from sweating. Some skin conditions like harsh burns can also result in an end to sweat.
As always, if you believe you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned genetic or medical symptoms, we encourage speaking with your doctor to find an effective solution.
Have a gnawing question or interesting fitness topic you’d like us to cover? Shoot us a thought by using #TeamAaptiv or posting in the community.
Also, if you’d like to take your fitness to another level, Aaptiv’s workout classes are perfect. Take our free fitness quiz to see which ones are best for you.
Surgery for Graves’ disease is rarely done today. However, people with very large goiters are less likely to respond well to anti-thyroid medication or radioactive iodine, and may have a better outcome if most of the thyroid gland is removed surgically (called subtotal thyroidectomy).
Patients with eye signs of Graves’ disease may be given eye drops to keep the eyes moist and tinted eyeglasses to protect the eyes from sun, wind and dust. In people with severe eye symptoms, glucocorticoid medications may be necessary, either alone or together with radiation treatments to the muscles that control eye movement. Skin symptoms of Graves’ disease may be treated with glucocorticoid creams and ointments.
When To Call a Professional
Call your doctor if you have any of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including:
Constant feelings of anxiety
Abnormal sweating or unusual sensitivity to warm temperatures
Palpitations, shortness of breath, or chest pain
Weight loss, in spite of a normal or increased appetite
Muscle weakness or wasting
Also call your doctor if you develop swelling or skin changes in your feet or lower legs, or if you notice a change in your eye appearance or eye function.
Many patients remain well after a single course of anti-thyroid drugs, but recurrence can happen at any time. Radioactive iodide is very effective, but often results in abnormally low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Surgery also can cause low levels of thyroid hormones.
The eye signs of Graves’ disease tend to improve with anti-thyroid drug treatment. However, some element of the staring appearance often remains.
Learn more about Graves’ Disease
- Graves’ Disease
Mayo Clinic Reference
- Graves’ disease
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Hot? Cold? Haywire? What dysautonomia feels like.
Posted October 24, 2018
Living with an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) or hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD) is full of challenges on its own, but EDS/HSD often presents alongside other diagnoses such as dysautonomia. For Dysautonomia Awareness Month 2018, we asked our Ehlers-Danlos Society social media community, “What does your dysautonomia feel like?”
We received over 100 responses from individuals living with dysautonomia as well as an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) or hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD). Our community shared stories of unrelenting fatigue and debilitating brain fog. We heard about weakness, racing hearts, and frustration. An overwhelmingly common experience was the feeling of a body out of control; feeling too hot or too cold constantly—or even both at the same time.
Here’s what our community had to say:
- Monika – At best I’m very tired all the time and it gets hard to move my body as if feels like it’s made of lead. At worst, I will not be able to leave my bed or even sit for a day or two. not only about tachycardia and fainting.
- Lindsey – I feel hot and sweaty one minute and freezing to the core the next. If I’m cold, I can put lots of clothes on and pile blankets high and my skin feels like it’s on fire to someone else but I still think I’m freezing. I often have to take scorching showers to warm myself to the bone. I don’t sweat often or much and so I have extreme difficulty cooling myself. If I get too hot, my skin flushes red and I get nauseated and may or may not vomit. I may have to take nausea medicine which often puts me to sleep. I’m thirsty constantly, bring water everywhere with me, get dehydrated extremely easily when I don’t have enough water.
- Robin – I feel like I’m constantly in the “just woke up” phase; my memory retention is almost nonexistent. I feel like most of my personality and almost all of my creativity is squashed. It’s almost like I just need my brain to wake up all the way but it functions just enough to get me through the day
- Cheryl – Dysautonomia makes me feel as if I’m an alien living on some strange planet where the environment, food, gravity, weather, etc. are all different from what I need in order to function normally.
Adira – It feels like the day after the flu…not quite mid-flu but not all better yet either. Every day without an ER trip is a victory.
- Tallulah – When I would get sudden onset fatigue, it felt like all my batteries were suddenly drained and if I didn’t lie down immediately, I would faint or die. I would lie down and not move an inch because I felt so weak. I couldn’t catch my breath, my muscles ached, and I felt any minute my heart would stop from the tachycardia.
- Lauren – It feels like living in a body that is constantly malfunctioning. My body temperature is constantly jumping around; right now I have one hand that is warm and the other is like ice. I don’t sweat properly, so heat is brutal — even just taking a bath. Half the systems in my body don’t work the way they’re supposed to, and treatment is a nightmare because the doctors are basically trying to hit a moving target. And all I can do is try to keep going as my body goes haywire.
- Kelly – Before being diagnosed with POTS, it felt like my body was on overdrive. Walking a short distance would leave me out of breath, exhausted, clammy, and feeling like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. Sometimes it would happen without any kind of exercise to induce it, and I was afraid I was having a heart attack or some other kind of emergency. It would also leave me feeling like every ounce of energy had been drained out of my body, and I’d be in tears over how tired I felt.
- Kate – Feeling like I’m overheating, but someone touching my skin saying, “you feel like ice!” Not knowing whether to pile on my blankets or turn on more fans. Having cold feet, hands, and nose, but boiling everything else. Clammy skin. Cold sweats. Hot sweats. Night sweats so bad that my shirt is soaked in the morning. Having to constantly explain why I don’t need a coat even though it’s cold. Doctors not being able to find my pulse or blood pressure, but then wondering why my heart rate is so high. My ear suddenly getting red and hot for no reason. Half of my face or arm flushing red and warm. Never having a good explanation for any of it.
- Mary – Dripping with perspiration one minute, pulling a sweater on the next. Exhausted with any exertion, shaking, palpitations, and feeling ridiculous when I am out because I have to carry a fan and a face washer. Standing up quickly and holding on to the wall until the lights stop flashing and the room stops spinning. Being startled by the slightest things and feeling like your heart is in overdrive every time the phone rings when you are resting. It is the most uncomfortable life, living with orthostatic intolerance.
- Gail – I feel like my life is being conducted with cement shoes on my feet.
- Clair – Before I was diagnosed with POTS I used to tell my doctors that when I stand it feels like I’m sinking into the floor. No one understood at all. Now, I realize I’m feeling the effect of blood pooling. I’m not sinking into the floor, my blood is sinking into my feet and hands.
- Ashley – It feels like a switch is being shut off inside me for absolutely no reason. Like my battery has gone from 55% to 1% without warning. Day over.
- Dani – I get presyncope every time I lean downward at all and dizziness when I am back upright; sometimes my vision takes longer to come back. It’s like being drunk, even though I stopped drinking alcohol many months ago, but it’s due to a lack of coordination and brain fog.
Iris – Dysautonomia feels like nothing is easy. Nothing makes sense. You can no longer rely on your body’s autopilot. You are hot one second, freezing the next. You stand up and wake up on the floor 5 minutes later. You cannot eat. You cannot pee. Nothing comes easy.
- Kalan – It feels like losing control of the most basic functions in your body. It teaches you how to be an entirely new different definition of strong even when your body is not. It’s like having your body lie to you about how hot/cold an environment really is. It’s never knowing how long it will take for a flare to pass. It’s standing up and feeling like you’ve won a battle just to remain standing with clear vision for at least a few minutes. It’s becoming your very own superhero because though others may not see it, your mind and heart is fighting a battle for your body on a daily basis. The symptoms are endless, the fight is ongoing, but the reward of knowing how strong you are is incredible.
- Karrie – It’s like one minute your normal and the next you just got off the the most nauseating roller coaster of your life. Your sweaty, heart is pounding, head is spinning, you can’t find your balance, and your vision blurs.
- Ash – My “normal” feels like doing wind sprints at high elevation. I feel like I have plenty of air in my body but no oxygen. I feel like I have no control of my body anymore. Standing up feels like face planting a wall
- Liz – Dysautonomia feels like when you try to plug in a USB cable and it never goes in right the first time.
- Billie – It feels like getting off a really fast fairground ride…but you only stood up! Your heart thumps, you get a layer of cold sweat, your ears ring, you feel sick, the room spins and you forget what you stood up for! (Or, you realise you’re on the floor…)
Disclaimer: Each quote submitted to The Ehlers-Danlos Society for this article is published “as-is,” with only minimal edits for spelling, grammar, length, and typographical mistakes. Each reflects the personal views, experiences and opinions of the individual authors—and, thus does not necessarily represent the views and/or endorsements, individually or collectively, of The Ehlers-Danlos Society, its leadership, staff, boards, or communities. We can also not confirm any medical claims, symptom attribution, or comments in the story.
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The medical term for an inability to sweat is anhidrosis or hypohydrosis. This condition can be very troublesome. If you don’t sweat, your body can’t cool itself and is prone to overheat, sometimes dangerously so. Some people are affected with this disorder in only one part of the body or in scattered patches, but it can also affect the entire body. If that’s the case, you’re at risk of overheating during hot weather, vigorous exercise or when performing demanding physical activity, leading to heat cramps, heat exhaustion or, most dangerous, heat stroke.
Anhidrosis can be due to genetic factors, and it can also develop as a result of disorders that damage the body’s autonomic nervous system. That system controls involuntary actions such as digestion, heartbeat, blood pressure, and body temperature. Among the medical disorders that can cause this damage are diabetes, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease, amyloidosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and small cell lung cancer. In addition, skin damage (especially bad burns) can reduce the ability to sweat. Some medications can also interfere with sweating, although sweating goes back to normal when you stop taking them.
No specific treatment exists for anhidrosis, but I would recommend trying acupuncture and hypnosis – both therapies can help with autonomic dysfunction. Beyond that, be careful to prevent your body from overheating: wear loose clothing when it’s warm, don’t overdress in cold weather, stay indoors on hot days, and be aware of your activity level. You – and the unaffected members of your family – should also learn the symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do if you develop them.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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Newswise — The first sign of dangerous heat stroke can be just that ” no sweat. As the temperature rises, your body’s natural cooling mechanism, sweat (or more kindly, perspiration), evaporates and helps to cool your body. But on those hot, humid cut-the-air-with-a knife days, evaporation is slowed and your body may not be able to keep itself cool.
“The best defense against any heat-related illness is prevention. Be extra careful when the heat index is 90 degrees or above. (The heat index tells you how hot it feels in the shade when relative humidity combines with the air temperature.) Always, always drink plenty of water when the heat index is high and avoid caffeine and alcohol. If you must be outdoors, take frequent breaks inside or in the shade,” says Marilyn J. Heine, M.D., a Bucks County emergency physician and member of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
“If you take precautions and know the warning signs, you generally can prevent heat stoke. Keep a close watch on the elderly and infants, people on certain medications, athletes and outdoor workers.”
Recognize these warning signs:
“¢ Pale skin
“¢ Fatigue, weakness
“¢ Dizzy or nauseous
“¢ Sweating profusely
“¢ Rapid pulse
“¢ Fast, shallow breathing
“¢ Muscle weakness or cramps
Dr. Heine explains, “If you experience any of these symptoms, get out of the heat quickly and rest in a cool, shady place. Drink plenty of water or other fluids containing sugar and salt. Do NOT drink alcohol; that can make it worse. If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, contact your doctor. If heat exhaustion isn’t treated, it can progress to heat stroke.”
Seek treatment immediately if any of these warning signs are present:
“¢ Skin that feels hot and dry, but not sweaty
“¢ Confusion or loss of consciousness
“¢ Throbbing headache
“¢ Frequent vomiting
“¢ Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion — it can kill you. People with heat stroke may have seizures or go into a coma and most also have a fever.
“If you suspect heat stroke, call 911 immediately,” Dr. Heine says, “Move the victim to a cooler location, remove heavy clothing, fan the body and wet it down with a cool sponge or cloth, and encourage the individual to drink cool fluids.” At the hospital, the patient probably will be given fluids intravenously.
The key to beating the heat, of course, is prevention. Dr. Heine offers the following tips for keeping cool and healthy despite the sweltering sun and humidity.
“¢ Don’t overexert yourself.
“¢ Drink a quart of fluids an hour.
“¢ Wear loose clothing light in color and fabric, as well as a hat and sunblock, and stay in the shade or indoors if possible.
“¢ Open windows and use fans, or turn on air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning, go to a public place that does, like a mall, library, or movie theater.
“¢ Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can speed up dehydration.
“¢ Finally, be a good neighbor – check on the elderly and chronically ill persons regularly to make sure they’re bearing up under the heat.
Having heat exhaustion or heat stroke makes you more sensitive to hot conditions for about a week afterwards. Be especially careful not to exercise too hard, and avoid hot weather. Ask your doctor to tell you when it is safe to return to your normal activities.
According to Dr. Heine, there are two types of heat stroke, and everyone is susceptible, athletes and couch potatoes alike. Classic or non-exercise-induced heat stroke affects those exposed to extremely hot environments for an intolerable length of time.
Infants and young children
Babies and young children don’t have the ability to hydrate themselves or know when to get out of the heat.
“¢ Never leave a child in a closed, parked vehicle, not even for a minute. The temperature inside a parked car can soar into triple digits within minutes. We’ve all heard the horror stories. Don’t do it.
“¢ Make sure babies and children drink plenty of fluids. If you are thirsty, chances are your little ones could also use a beverage. Avoid beverages with caffeine, or a large amount of sugar.
“¢ Avoid bundling infants in heavy blankets or clothing. Like adults, babies need to air out in order to cool down.
“¢ During the hottest hours of the day, keep children indoors in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible. Families without air conditioning should pull shades over the windows and use room fans.
The elderly or infirm
The elderly are more prone to heat-related illness for several reasons:
“¢ Their bodies do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature.
“¢ They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that upsets normal body responses to heat.
“¢ They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.
Dr. Heine recalls a 78-year-old woman who was transported by ambulance to the emergency department after a neighbor noticed she hadn’t been out of her apartment for two days. The temperature had surpassed 90 degrees and the humidity was stifling. The woman was dehydrated, with a temperature of 104.7 degrees and a decreased blood pressure of 100/70. She was treated with intravenous fluids and then hospitalized.
You can help:
“¢ Visit older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
“¢ Take them to air-conditioned locations if they have transportation problems.
“¢ Make sure older adults have an electric fan and can take a cool shower or bath.
People taking certain medications
Many medications also can put you in danger of heat stroke:
“¢ Allergy medicines
“¢ Cough and cold medicines
“¢ Some blood pressure and heart medicines
“¢ Diet pills (amphetamines)
“¢ Irritable bladder and irritable bowel medicines
“¢ Some mental health medicines
“¢ Seizure medicines
“¢ Thyroid pills
“¢ Water pills
Talk to your doctor about what medicines you are taking. He or she can tell you if your medicine puts you at risk for heat stroke.
The other type of heat stroke – exertional or activity-induced – primarily affects athletes, laborers, and soldiers – persons who overdo physical activity in very hot temperatures.
While football players who wear body-covering uniforms/equipment and practice in the hottest temperatures are especially prone to dehydration and heat stroke, all athletes are at risk in very high temperatures. Young athletes, in particular, are at higher risk for developing heat-related illness than adults because they absorb heat faster than adults, don’t sweat as much and often don’t “want” to drink fluids during exercise.
Do your best to avoid heat illness by following these tips from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine :
“¢ Alert your coach or athletic trainer anytime you don’t feel well.
“¢ Allow for acclimatization (adaptation) to hot, humid conditions. Gradually increase workout intensity and duration over a 10 to 14 day period. This helps train your body to drink more, increase blood volume and sweat better.
“¢ Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to help promote heat loss.
“¢ Save strenuous exercise for early morning or late evening, not during the heat of the day. If this can’t be avoided, modify workout intensity and increase the number and length of rest breaks.
“¢ When exercising outside, stay in the shade as much as possible.
“¢ Drink up when it’s hot and when it’s not! You should have unlimited access to fluids throughout practices or competition.
“¢ Monitor your hydration status. Ideally, body weight should be taken before and after practice to determine sweat loss. Check that urine color is pale like lemonade, not concentrated like apple juice.
“¢ Two hours before exercise, drink at least 16 oz (2 cups) fluid.
“¢ During exercise, drink at least 7″10 oz (about one cup) every 10″20 minutes.
“¢ After a workout or competition, drink 24 oz (3 cups) per pound of body weight lost through sweat.
Working in the heat
Firefighters, contractors, miners, farmers, laborers, to name a few, are highly susceptible to heat-related illness when the temperature climbs. If you work in hot environment, whether indoors or out, the key to avoiding heat-related illness is to follow the general guidelines ” gradually build up your tolerance to heat over 5-7 days, hydrate, take breaks in the shade or air-conditioning, use fans when possible, avoid exertion during the hottest parts of the day, pace yourself and know the signs of heat-related illness.
Drinking enough water is critical. In the course of a day’s work in the heat, you may produce as much as 2 to 3 gallons of sweat. To avoid dehydration, make sure your water intake during the workday is about equal to the amount of sweat produced. Most workers exposed to hot conditions drink less fluids than needed because they’re just not thirsty. Do your best to drink 5 to 7 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish the necessary fluids in your body.
For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Family Health and Wellness website at www.myfamilywellness.org.
Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
How is excessive sweating treated?
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Treatment may include:
Antiperspirant. An antiperspirant that has 10% to 15% aluminum chloride can block sweat glands and help stop sweating. It comes in creams, sticks, gels, and sprays. You can buy antiperspirant at a drugstore. Or your healthcare provider may give you a stronger prescription antiperspirant that has 20% aluminum chloride. Antiperspirant should be applied to dry skin at night before bed. It needs to be applied every night for a week or two, and then once or twice a week or as needed. This can irritate the skin for some people. This medicine is not used on the face.
Anticholinergic medicine. This medicine can be taken by mouth to help reduce sweating. Possible side effects can include blurry vision, dry mouth, dry eyes, and constipation. A version for the skin (topical) will soon be available.
Botulinum toxin. This is a type of medicine. The medicine is injected into the areas with sweat glands. This can help prevent sweat glands from working normally for a few months. You’ll need to get injections every few months. This can be painful and costly.
Iontophoresis. This treatment uses electricity to block sweat glands. Moist pads are put on the skin, or your hands or feet are placed in shallow water. Chemicals may be added to the water. An electrical current is sent through fluid. The process is done several times a week until sweating is reduced, and then once a week or as advised.
Surgery. In severe cases, surgery can be done to remove your sweat glands. Or surgery can be done to cut the nerves that send signals to the sweat glands. Either of these types of surgery can stop sweat permanently. But this can lead to compensatory hyperhidrosis. This means you will start sweating from another part of your body.
Treating another health condition, or changing a medicine. A health condition or a medicine can cause secondary hyperhidrosis. This can be managed by treating the health condition, or by a change in medicine. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about these options if you have secondary hyperhidrosis.
Talk with your healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.
This is a treatment that uses electrical stimulation. It is used mainly to treat sweating of the palms and/or soles. It can also be used to treat armpit sweating. It works well in most cases. Treatment involves putting the affected areas (usually hands and/or feet) into a small container filled with water. A small electrical current is then passed through the water, from a special machine. It is not dangerous but may cause some discomfort or a pins and needles feeling. The exact way this helps to treat sweating is not known. It may help to block the sweat glands in some way.
You will usually need 3-4 treatment sessions per week. Each treatment session lasts 20-40 minutes. Most people see an improvement after 6-10 sessions. A maintenance treatment is then usually required once every 1-4 weeks to keep symptoms away. If the treatment does not work with tap water, a medicine called glycopyrronium bromide is sometimes added to the water.
Iontophoresis does not work in every case. Also, some people develop side-effects from the treatment, such as a dry or sore mouth and throat, and dizziness, for up to 24 hours after each treatment episode.
You should not have iontophoresis if you are pregnant, or have a metal implant, such as a pin to fix a bone break (fracture), or if you have a pacemaker.
Botulinum toxin injections
Botulinum toxin injections are an option that usually works well for armpit sweating. Treatment consists of many small injections just under the skin in the affected areas. The botulinum toxin stops the nerves in the skin that control the sweat glands from working. Botulinum toxin is not licensed to treat sweating of the palms and face. This is because there is a risk that the injections may stop some of the nearby small muscles of the hands or face from working.
The downside of botulinum toxin is that the effect usually wears off after 4-12 months. Therefore, to keep working, the treatment needs repeating when the effect wears off.
Propantheline is a medicine that can be used if you have excessive sweating that happens soon after eating or drinking. Other medicines may be effective but at the moment there isn’t any strong evidence to recommend any particular medicine for excessive sweating.
What about surgery?
An operation is an option for people who have not been helped much by other treatments, or if other treatments cause unacceptable side-effects or problems.
For armpit sweating
One option is to remove the sweat glands in the armpit. There are various techniques. One technique is to remove the sweat glands from the underside of the skin through a small hole cut in the skin (called suction curettage).
A recent innovation has been to use a laser to destroy the sweat glands in the armpit – laser sweat ablation (LSA). This may result in less scarring than other surgical techniques.
For palm sweating
One option is to have an operation to cut some of the nerves that run down the side of the spinal cord. These nerves control the sweat glands in the hands. The operation is called endoscopic thoracoscopic sympathectomy. It is done by keyhole surgery, using a special telescope to locate the nerve, and then to cut the nerve. Most people are pleased with the result of the operation. However, a complication that may occur following this operation is a compensatory increase in sweating in other parts of the body (such as in the chest or groin).
Surgery is not usually done for sweating of the soles. Although cutting the nerves next to the spinal cord in the lower back region may cure the problem of sweating, there is a high risk of this also affecting sexual function.
What are the possible complications?
Although not a medically serious condition, excessive sweating can be very embarrassing. For example:
- If you have bad palm sweating you tend to have a cold, sweaty handshake and sweat may drip from your hands on to work documents, computer keyboards, etc.
- If you have bad armpit sweating, you may become embarrassed by the frequent wet patch that develops on clothes under your arms.
- You may need to change clothes during the day.
- You may avoid social contact or avoid doing sports because of embarrassment about the condition.
Other complications are uncommon. In some cases, the affected skin can become sore, irritated and prone to infection. There is a risk of developing dermatitis on the affected skin.