Metabolic Health
Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

The Connection between Diabetes and Sweating

Diabetes is an endocrine condition, which means it affects several systems in our body. As a result, it is more difficult to maintain a constant internal body temperature, a process known as thermoregulation. Diabetes interferes with the body's natural capacity to regulate body temperature and causes something known as ‘diabetes sweating’. 

High or low blood sugar levels may cause hyperhidrosis which is excessive perspiration or anhidrosis which means lack of or no sweating at all. Hyperhidrosis is more frequent in people with diabetes and may indicate a need for more stringent glucose control. Anhidrosis, or diminished or nonexistent sweating, is less prevalent but may occur in diabetic neuropathy patients' feet or legs.

According to research, up to 84 percent of persons with diabetes sweat when they have hypoglycemia, with the most prevalent sweating spot being behind the neck. Fortunately, sweating in diabetics is often caused by modestly low blood sugar episodes that normally resolve quickly once some sugar is consumed. 

Types of Sweating

Sweating due to diabetes generally occurs in 3 types:

1. Hyperhidrosis

As part of a counterregulatory hormonal reaction to low glucose, adrenaline promotes excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis. To maintain homeostasis (the body's need to achieve and maintain a state of balance), the body prefers to remain within fairly limited hormonal ranges. When this is compromised, as in diabetes, thermoregulation is impaired and may result in hyperhidrosis.

2. Gustatory Sweats

Gustatory sweating is a frequent yet underestimated sign of diabetes mellitus. After consuming any food or drink, the unique condition is characterized by profuse perspiration of the face, head, and neck. Gustatory sweating is a symptom of long-term diabetes and is linked to peripheral neuropathy, nephropathy, and other disorders that affect our autonomic nervous system. Usually, all that is required to establish a clinical diagnosis is profuse head and neck perspiration after eating but it's best to consult a doctor about this. 

3. Night Sweats 

The body repairs and rebuilds itself at night using the energy from the carbs you consumed during the day. The body's thermoregulatory mechanism may malfunction if you haven't ingested enough carbs. It's important to keep an eye on your symptoms before bed if you want to prevent night sweats. Taking a simple carbohydrate, such as crackers or a piece of fruit, will rapidly bring your low blood sugar levels back up if you catch them early. Blood sugar levels and sweating are often inversely correlated, therefore the longer your blood sugar is low, the more you will perspire.

Causes of Diabetes Sweating

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is the most frequent cause of profuse perspiration, particularly at night. Declining blood sugar levels cause the body to create adrenaline, which causes blood vessels to constrict and the sweat glands to become active.

There are many causes of low blood sugar, including:

  • Taking more insulin than required
  • Not eating enough carbs
  • Skipping a meal or snacks
  • Exercise in excess (without adjusting your medication)
  • Taking an insulin-producing drug in excess
  • Consuming alcohol

It is best to consult a doctor before diagnosing anything by yourself for a more comprehensive understanding of the situation. 

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Diagnosis Of Diabetes Sweating

Excessive sweating is a clinical diagnosis that is made based on your symptoms and, in certain cases, a few diagnostic procedures. A healthcare practitioner may examine your blood sugar levels and treatment program, since diabetic hypoglycemia is often the cause of excessive perspiration.

When your blood sugar level falls below 70 ml/dL, you have diabetic hypoglycemia. Night sweats are a common presenting symptom, with patients often describing dreams and waking up in moist sheets or nightclothes owing to sweating. 

If you have access to a dermatologist, you may wish to see one to assist you figure out what's wrong. A healthcare professional may ask you the following questions during your appointment:

  • Do any of your blood relations sweat excessively?
  • Do you perspire a lot while you sleep?
  • When did you notice the excessive sweating for the first time?
  • Do you avoid particular hobbies or social settings due to your excessive sweating?
  • How often do you perspire excessively?
  • Is there anything that seems to make you sweat?

These are all questions that need to be asked in order to understand the underlying cause of your problem. This will better help the doctor to help you. 

Treatment & Prevention Of Diabetes Sweating

To lessen or manage perspiration in people with diabetes, a doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Antiperspirants with a prescription or clinical strength: These substances stop sweating by obstructing sweat pores and include large concentrations of aluminum chloride. Skin inflammation, however, is often an adverse effect.
  • Drugs that inhibit nerves. A doctor may recommend oral drugs called anticholinergics. These prevent the chemical messenger acetylcholine from influencing many bodily processes, such as perspiration production. Common adverse effects include dry mouth, urinary issues, dehydration, and impaired vision.
  • Injections of the botulinum toxin, or Botox, may stop the nerve impulses that cause sweating. Muscle weakness at the injection site and the target region is one of the side effects.

Other alternatives include: surgery, electrical current treatment, and certain antidepressants.

With the right medication and lifestyle changes, this condition can be managed to a great extent and you won’t have to live with it for a long time. Consult your doctor, maintain daily hygiene, eat clean and work out regularly are general things which will keep your body healthy overall. 

Bottomline

Diabetes interferes with the body's natural capacity to regulate body temperature and causes something known as 'diabetes sweating'. Hyperhidrosis is more frequent in people with diabetes and may indicate a need for more stringent glucose control. Anhidrosis, or diminished or nonexistent sweating, is less prevalent but may occur in diabetic neuropathy patients' feet or legs. The body repairs and rebuilds itself at night using the energy from the carbs you consumed during the day. The body's thermoregulatory mechanism may malfunction if you haven't ingested enough carbs. Taking a simple carbohydrate, such as crackers or a piece of fruit, will rapidly bring your low blood sugar levels back up if you catch them early. With the right medication and lifestyle changes, this condition can be managed to a great extent and you won't have to live with it for a long time. Consult your doctor, maintain daily hygiene, eating clean and working out regularly are general things which will keep your body healthy overall.

FAQs

What are some Home Remedies for Sweat Control?

If you're worried about your health, you could avoid antiperspirants that include harsh chemicals in favor of a more natural method of sweating control. Here’s a list of things you can do to control sweating naturally:

  • Drinking green and black tea regularly
  • Applying apple cider vinegar to parts that sweat excessively
  • Drinking tomato juice
  • Avoid smoking and drinking 
  • Wearing natural fabrics to keep your body cool
  • Taking a shower twice a day with cool water

References

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317366

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