Cold Sweats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Have you ever found yourself sweating without reason? You are not in the sun, not working out, not in a crowded room, and don’t even have a fever! Yet, here you are sweating. Most people call these “cold sweats”. The medical term, however, is diaphoresis. And the primary cause behind this is stress.
Now, this stress can exist for many reasons. We’ll discuss these causes of cold sweats, along with more details on what “cold sweat with no fever” or “cold sweats at night” actually mean.
In this article, we’ll also share how to treat cold sweats, so you know the correct steps to take as soon as you diagnose this condition.
Ready to demystify cold sweats? Read on!
What are Cold Sweats?
It is normal to sweat when you have a fever (that’s your body’s way of cooling you down after the fever has increased your temperature. The same applies when you have had an intense workout or have been in a hot environment for a long time.
But when you start sweating without these causes in the picture, that may be your body’s fight or flight response to a sudden yet big bout of stress.
This sweating is not done by eccrine glands (the ones responsible in the cases mentioned above). Cold sweats get triggered by apocrine glands, which are usually present in your soles, underarms and genital areas.
Remember the times when you had stage fright, and your shoes felt wet from sweating? That’s cold sweating, and apocrine glands are responsible for it.
What Causes Cold Sweat Causes?
An abrupt drop in blood pressure can result in fainting, also known as syncope, which can occasionally cause a momentary loss of consciousness. Vertigo or nausea are two additional signs of syncope.
It usually happens when the heart isn’t supplying enough oxygen to the brain because of low blood pressure.
- Low Glucose Levels
When a person’s blood sugar falls below the normal range – the condition is known as hypoglycemia. This condition leads to an increase in adrenaline production, which makes you sweat.
Low glucose levels are common in those following a keto diet or fasting. Also, for patients with diabetes, this condition poses a serious risk.
- Anxiety Or Panic Attack
Anyone can experience stress due to fear and anxiety. The fight-or-flight reaction and all its symptoms, such as cold sweats, can be brought on by stress.
So, cold sweats can be a sign of panic episodes, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety.
Certain occurrences or phobias may also cause cold sweats. A common example is stage fright. Other instances include cold sweating during a flight owing to a fear of heights, cold sweating before an interview, or cold sweating when watching a horror film.
You might not need to be concerned if it just happens once a year. But you should speak with a mental health professional if it starts to repeat again and again.
- Lack Of Oxygen/ Shortness Of Breath
The medical name for a shortage of oxygen is hypoxia, which can occur when parts of the body are not receiving enough oxygen, possibly because of a blockage, an injury, or an inability to breathe properly. Cold sweats may result from the condition.
Although your sweat glands aren’t immediately responding to the shortage of oxygen in your body, they are secreting more fluids in reaction to your body’s general suffering from not getting oxygen.
You can identify that lack of oxygen is your cause of cold sweats if you have cold sweats with covid or experience fatigue, mental confusion, and rapid breathing too.
Other causes include heart attacks, infections, shock from injuries (eg. car accident injury), and severe pain from fractures, kidney stones, spinal cord trauma, etc.
Symptoms of Cold Sweats
As the name suggests, a primary symptom of cold sweats is that your skin feels cold. Other symptoms include:
- Pale looking skin
- Sudden sweating
- Abnormal sweating (i.e., sweating in a cool environment, without exertion or fever)
- Faster heartbeat
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Dry mouth
- Less saliva in the mouth than usual
- Normal or less-than-normal body temperature
Cold Sweats At Night
Night sweats are different from cold sweats, but they are often mistaken to be one of a kind. Night sweats can happen if you sleep in a hot environment. They can also be due to underlying conditions like carcinoid tumors and Endocarditis.
Treatments for Cold Sweats
The first step to treating cold sweats is finding the cause. You can do so yourself with the help of the list above, but the best way to go about it is to consult a doctor.
Once you find the cause, you need to treat that cause. Here are some scenarios you can use.
- If the cause is anxiety or panic attacks, try calming yourself down by thinking of your happy place or yoga. Try therapy if it becomes regular.
- If you have cold sweat with a fever, it may be due to an infection like that of a wound. So, treat that wound, and your cold sweats should subside.
- If the cause of lack of oxygen, try pranayama practices like Anulom-Vilom and deep breathing.
- If you have low glucose levels, get an energy drink as soon as possible. You can also eat fruit.
- If you feel you will faint, try lying down and elevating your legs. Rest for a while. If you experience a loss of consciousness, rest for a while and then drink water or fruit juice.
Cold sweats happen when your body experiences a sudden and significant amount of stress that it’s not used to bearing.
Causes include lack of oxygen, low glucose in the blood, heart attacks, infections, injuries, shocks, episodes of fainting, and anxiety or panic attacks.
The way to cure these cold sweats is to treat these root causes. It’s better if you consult a medical professional to help you with that.