Cold sweats (or diaphoresis, or hyperhydrosis, as the condition is often medically referred to) are relatively common among many people all over the world, and yet there are still many myths about the condition itself, as well as its causes and cures. This article will help to demystify the condition, and help you get a clearer picture of what you could do to avoid triggers for cold sweats, as well as actually treat them.
What is a Cold Sweat?
Although it is normal for the body to sweat as a cooling mechanism when you are in a warm environment, cold sweats differ significantly from the normal sweating process. Cold sweats usually occur very abruptly and suddenly, and most importantly, they are not the result of high external temperature or of any physical exertion (exercise, etc.). When you have this condition, you sweat not only unpredictably (even while you are resting, eating, etc.), but also excessively. Most sufferers of the condition experience excessive sweating all over their bodies, but particularly on their hands, underarms and feet – the skin is left feeling clammy and cold after an episode.
Cold sweats are recognized as possible symptoms to a variety of different medical conditions, some mild (stress and anxiety related illnesses for example), and others more severe (heart attacks, etc.). Because of this, it is important that when you experience a cold sweat, that you pay close attention to any other symptoms that you may be having, before getting in touch with a medical professional to assess your condition.
Symptoms That You May Experience With Cold Sweats
Unless you are experiencing a cold sweat as a result of another underlying medical condition, your cold sweats may be accompanied by the following most common symptoms:
1. The feeling of nausea (and sometimes even vomiting).
2. A general weakness around the whole body.
3. Frequent chills that pass through the whole body.
4. An unusual paleness to the skin.
5. A dull pain throughout the whole body.
6. Dizziness and disorientation.
7. Similar symptoms to an anxiety attack that is brought on by stress.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Contact A Medical Professional?
As mentioned above, cold sweats can sometimes be indications of more serious conditions, but it’s
not always clear when this is so. This is a list of the symptoms that can help you determine whether
the situation is more serious that just a usual cold sweat:
1. Severe chest pains or unusual tightness in the chest, shoulders, arms, back, jaw and throat.
2. Heart palpitations.
3. Any kind of uncontrolled bleeding.
4. Blood residue in either stool or vomit.
5. Swelling in the face, mouth, or even tongue.
6. High body temperature, or fever.
7. Any difficulty in breathing, or shortness of breath.
8. Loss of the ability to concentrate or focus.
9. Changes in mental state, for example lethargy, confusion, or even the experience of
If you experience any of the above symptoms in combination with cold sweats, get in touch with a
medical professional as soon as possible.
What Causes Cold Sweats?
There is usually not just one single cause of cold sweats, but rather a combination of various factors
that push the body into a fight or flight response that results in a cold sweat. Cold sweats are usually
natural responses to the situations listed below:
1. Severe pain:
Patients suffering from chronic pain due to fractures, etc., can experience frequent cold sweats
throughout the day.
2. Lack of oxygen flow to the brain:
If for whatever reason your brain receives less oxygen than it requires (due to shortness of breath,
etc.), a stress response is triggered throughout your body, which in turn triggers cold sweats.
3. Lack of blood flow to the brain:
Your body goes into shock when there isn’t enough blood going to your vital organs and brain. Cold
sweats often result from this and are a sign that immediate medical intervention is necessary; this is
because going into shock can be a life-threatening condition.
4. Unusually low blood pressure:
When your blood pressure drops below 120/80 mm Hg (the normal blood pressure level), and
especially if it goes down to 90/60, this is considered incredibly dangerous. Often low blood pressure
causes cold sweats.
5. Low blood sugar:
For patients suffering from diabetes, or even people who do not eat frequently enough, cold sweats
are usually to be expected.
6. Chronic headaches/migraines:
Cold sweats often occur in patients suffering from frequent and severe headaches and migraines.
Many women in their perimenopausal stage, or women going through menopause experience
frequent cold night sweats, which are the result of the hormonal changes their bodies go through
during these stages.
8. Various medications:
Certain medications can bring on cold sweats. Patients on medication for blood pressure issues,
various herbal medications, or antibiotics in particular often experience cold sweats.
9. Other conditions:
Circulatory or immune disorders, as well as influenza and various viral infections can also bring on
Treatments To Either Get Rid Of Or Take The Edge Of Cold Sweats
1. Professional help:
Seeking medical advice is the first step to finding appropriate treatment for cold sweats. Medical
professionals often recommend anti-anxiety medication, as well as different types of therapy.
Iontephoresis (a procedure in which sweat glands are temporarily turned off), and underarm
surgery (to remove sweat glands) are also often considered by patients with more severe and
frequent cold sweat episodes.
Many people who suffer from cold sweats notice certain foods that trigger their cold sweats.
Making notes of what you eat before your cold sweats occur could help you form patterns and
avoid the trigger foods in the future. Foods high in simple sugars are a common trigger.
3. Bedroom environment:
If your cold sweats occur primarily in the night (known as night sweats), try to create the optimal
environment in your bedroom. Experiment with different temperatures on your thermostat, make
sure there are no lights that may bother you and trigger cold sweats, etc.
Worrying about your cold sweats could cause you to become stressed, which could in turn trigger
even more cold sweat episodes – resulting in what is sometimes known as the cold sweat cycle.
Engaging in a healthy lifestyle, frequently exercising and de-stressing (through yoga, meditation,
etc.) often makes a big difference!
This article is intended to give you more information about cold sweats and to set you off on the
right track to effectively managing and avoiding them. Remember, it’s always beneficial to consult a
trained medical expert to get professional advice from a doctor who is familiar with your individual
situation and medical history, and can therefore give you more specific advice on what might work
best for you.
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