Diabetes and Excessive Sweating – Likely Causes and Remedies
Last updated on August 11th, 2017
In diabetes, there could be both excessive or lack of sweating. Sweating can be broadly classified into two groups, thermoregulatory that is sweating to control the body temperature in excessive heat, and emotional sweating, which is a reaction to certain emotional situation or stress. Different parts of the brain are responsible for these two type of sweating. In diabetes excessive sweating could be even in normal temperature, there could be excessive localized sweating of some part of the body or generalized excessive sweating. In scientific terminology, excessive sweating is called hyperhidrosis(Schlereth, Dieterich, & Birklein, 2009).
Our nervous system controls many functions. It is divided into voluntary and autonomous nervous system. The voluntary nervous system is needed for most of the physical moments,whereas autonomous nervous system as the name says, automatically controls the functioning of various organs.The autonomous system plays a major role in controlling the body temperature. Generalized neuropathy is characteristic of diabetes, which means that our autonomous nervous system loses its efficiency in controlling the body temperature and other functions, or at least the capacity of controlling is diminished to some extent. It often leads to excessive sweating(“Diabetes and abnormal sweating,” n.d.).
Though chronic neuropathy remains the main reason from excessive sweating in diabetes, in rare cases, it could be a dangerous signal for decreasing blood glucose levels. In people on insulin or those on certain types of anti-diabetic medicines it could be a dangerous sign, or worse even sign of other diseases commonly associated with diabetes(“Excessive Sweating Causes,” n.d.).
Hypoglycemia and excessive sweating
It is one of the dangerous condition related to diabetes treatment that needs urgent attention. A person may start to sweat, and shake for no obvious reason. It could indicate the sudden fall in the blood glucose levels. Which usually happens in insulin therapy, but in some cases, it may be due to drugs that are taken to increase the levels of insulin in the blood. If this happens too often, one may need to correct the insulin dose or of the drugs that the person is taking to keep diabetes in check(“Hypoglycemia Symptoms,” 2006).
It is a condition caused by hyperactive thyroid. It is often associated with diabetes. It is characterized by increased metabolism in a person, thus increased sweating, tremor, losing of body weight, palpitation, and nervousness. The combination of hyperthyroidism and diabetes can be harmful to health, and immediate treatment of the condition should be sought.
Diabetics are at much higher risks of heart problems and stroke. In diabetes due to problems of nerves, heart problem may often be silent or lack the typical symptoms that are in non-diabetic. Thus in many cases, heart problem may start with sweating and shakiness of the body. Diabetics have much higher incidence of silent myocardial infarction. Thus even simple symptom like over sweating should not be ignored.
Heat and stress
It is acceptable to sweat in high temperatures or stressful situation, but diabetics may sweat more than normal. Thus a person suffering from diabetes must take extra care, choose exercise time wisely, never over stress physically, be emotionally calm to avoid over sweating(“5 Reasons For Heavy Sweating With Diabetes,” 2015).
There are several disease conditions associated with increased night sweat and diabetes is one of them. It is particularly disturbing for sleep and person may often wake up with sweat(Choices, 2016). Thus a diabetic person must choose a sleeping place bit cooler than non-diabetics. In hotter countries, it would be a good idea to have air-conditioning, which has additionally drying effect for the skin.
It is a special category of sweating, which happens when a person eats food, it is usually limited to some regions of face, scalp, and neck,gustatory sweating is more evident with certain kind of foods, especially spicy and hot foods. It is usual to some extent, but in people suffering from diabetes, it could be so severe that it may disturb having the food properly. Some studies have shown its direct relation to diabetic neuropathy (Hillson, n.d.). One of the best prophylaxis of gustatory sweating is to identify and avoid the certain kind of food that cause more sweating on eating. Various medical or pharmacological treatment are available for serious and debilitating cases(“Diabetic Gustatory Sweating,” n.d.).
Treatment of excessive sweating
Before opting for any therapy, it is imperative to identify its reason. Excessive sweating may be a sign of many systematic diseases and infections.
The non-pharmacological approach is still the best when it comes to treating the excessive sweating, and other forms of treatment are reserved for those rare cases when excessive sweating is disturbing a person to live a normal life. Treatment of excessive sweating could be divided into three groups(“Diabetic Gustatory Sweating,” n.d.; Schlereth et al., 2009):
Local – mostly involves applying various creams and solution that have soothing and cooling effect
- Using antiperspirants
- Applying ammonium chloride 15-25%
- Applying glycopyrrholate for gustatory sweating
- Local injection of botulinum toxin
Surgical – this method is reserved for those extreme cases when it is disturbing daily living
- Endoscopic sympathectomy
- Axillary curettage
Systematic – this is most practical approach for moderately excessive sweating, involving use of drugs that decrease the sweating and have drying effect on the skin
- Usage of anti-cholinergic drugs
- Certain types of anti-depressants
- Beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers (help by reducing sympathetic over-activity)
When it comes to choosing a treatment for excessive sweating, it is surely done by the trained specialist.
- 5 ReasonsFor Heavy Sweating With Diabetes. (2015, October 19). Retrieved June 2, 2017, from https://www.adwdiabetes.com/articles/4-reasons-for-heavy-sweating-with-diabetes-2
- Choices, N. H. S. (2016, June 23). Night sweats (nocturnal hyperhidrosis) – NHS Choices. Retrieved June 2, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/night-sweats/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Diabetes and abnormal sweating: What is the connection? (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2017, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317366.php
- Diabetic Gustatory Sweating. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2017, from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/431617
- Excessive sweating Causes. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2017, from http://mayoclinic.org
- Hillson, R. (n.d.). Sweating in diabetes. Retrieved June 2, 2017, from http://www.practicaldiabetes.com/article/sweating-in-diabetes/
- Hypoglycemia Symptoms. (2006, July 25). Retrieved June 2, 2017, from https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/hypoglycemia-symptoms/
- Schlereth, T., Dieterich, M., &Birklein, F. (2009). Hyperhidrosis—Causes and Treatment of Enhanced Sweating. DeutschesÄrzteblatt International, 106(3), 32–37. https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2009.0032