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Sweating – What To Look Out For

Sweating is one of the body’s ways to make sure it remains the way it is supposed to be. Physical exhaustion, sickness, and stress are not the body’s natural state. Hence, it sweats to return to its natural position. Even though it is okay for the body to sweat, sweating too much or too little might be the sign of an underlying problem.

WHY DOES THE BODY SWEAT?

Kory Gill, M.D., a family medicine physician with the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, said “optimal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. As body temperature increases, sweat glands release sweat to decrease the temperature. Sweat leaves your skin through pores and evaporates when it hits outside air. As the sweat evaporates off your body, you cool down.”

It is also known as perspiration. It is the body’s way of regulating the temperature.

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WHY DO SOME PEOPLE EXCESSIVELY SWEAT?

Not always does the human body do everything as it should. Just like it malfunctions in other areas, it malfunctions in sweating. Hyperhidrosis is a condition when you sweat more than necessary based on the surrounding temperature and your activity level or stress. This problem can be localized (certain body parts) or affect the whole body. Age is sometimes a factor contributing to excessive sweating. Additionally, medications for diabetes, hyperthyroidism and pituitary gland problems may also trigger it. While people might sweat excessively due to a non-serious issue, excessive sweating at night can be the sign for a serious underlying issue. In the case of night sweats, a doctor should be consulted immediately.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

Antiperspirants or deodorants are the first step to be undertaken in this situation. Stronger or over-the-counter products can also be used after getting a doctor’s prescription. These are non-invasive treatment options and usually help.

If OTC products do not work, pricier options are available. There is a procedure to burn the sweat gland by laser, but it is a constant process as those glands regenerate. Botox is also an option. There are other treatments that clog the pores, hence reducing the amount of sweat. The body has other ways to transport heat, so clogging the pores would not lead to any problems.

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WHY DO SOME PEOPLE NOT SWEAT AT ALL?

Sweating too little can signify dehydration or heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can be deadly. This is why most athletic programs have requirements for heat acclimation. As the heat index climbs, athletes must condition their bodies to rising temperatures to maintain normal sweat levels. “Not sweating is actually a late-stage indicator right before heat exhaustion,” Gill said.

Extremes on any spectrum are signs of trouble. The same is the case with sweating, too much is bad, too little is bad. In either case, you should seek help.

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Rhythm Bhatia

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