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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Excessive Sweating

Excessive Sweating

Alternate Names : Diaphoresis, Excessive Perspiration, Profuse Sweating

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Excessive sweating is difficult to measure. It is usually noticed by a person or by the healthcare provider.

What is going on in the body?

The main purpose of sweating in the body is to get rid of excess body heat. Sweat on the skin evaporates, and this cools the body. Excessive sweating can sometimes be a sign of serious underlying conditions.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Excessive sweating has many causes, including:

  • strenuous activity
  • hot weather or wearing too much clothing for the temperature
  • inherited factors, as some people sweat more than others
  • migraine headaches
  • almost any infection, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis or a serious heart infection called endocarditis
  • hyperthyroidism, or an increased level of thyroid hormone in the body
  • pain, stress, anxiety or fear
  • hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar
  • serious heart conditions, such as a heart attack or congestive heart failure
  • serious lung conditions, such as emphysema, pulmonary edema or a pulmonary embolus
  • medications, such as haloperidol, which is used to treat psychosis
  • illegal drugs, such as cocaine
  • tumors or cancer
  • autoimmune disorders, in which a person's immune system attacks the body. Some examples are rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • strokes, which can affect the temperature control center of the brain
  • Other causes are also possible. In some cases, no cause can be found.


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    Excessive Sweating: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 06/06/01

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