The Science of Sweat: Exploring Its Impact on Diabetics and Neuropathy Patients

In the world of diabetes-related challenges, neuropathy emerges as a significant complication. Those struggling with diabetic peripheral neuropathy frequently voice concerns about irregularities in sweating. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that messes up the signals in our nervous system. This mix-up can cause problems with how our body normally works automatically, without us thinking about it. Because of this, people with this condition might sweat too much or not be able to sweat enough. Let’s explore the intricate connection between peripheral neuropathy, diabetes and sweating.

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy? We can help.

Man with hyperhidrosis sweating very badly under armpit in blue shirt.

Why do we sweat?

Sweating serves dual purposes in our bodies: it helps regulate our body temperature, ensuring we stay cool during warm weather or physical activity, and it responds to stress. Whether it’s a reaction to emotional challenges or part of the fight-or-flight response, our bodies use sweating as a versatile mechanism for maintaining equilibrium.

Whether you’re experiencing a lack of sweat or finding yourself dripping with perspiration, discussing these concerns with your physician is a crucial step.

The relationship between diabetes, neuropathy and sweating

Living with diabetes can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate temperature and produce the right amount of sweat to keep cool. There are two primary factors contributing to irregular sweating in diabetes: low blood sugar levels and nerve damage known as diabetic neuropathy.

When blood sugar drops significantly, below 70 mg/dl, it triggers a fight-or-flight response, leading to an increase in sweating. On the other hand, prolonged high blood sugar levels can cause diabetic neuropathy, affecting nerve function.

When nerves controlling sweat glands are damaged, they may send incorrect signals or none at all, resulting in either excessive or insufficient sweating.

Problems and complications

  • Anhidrosis. Anhidrosis is a condition marked by the absence of sweat production. The absence of sweat can lead to overheating, posing potential life-threatening risks. When linked to diabetic neuropathy, this condition may result in symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue and muscle cramps.
  • Hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized by an excessive production of sweat. Certain medications prescribed to diabetic individuals can be a contributing factor to this condition, often leading to the occurrence of night sweats.

Treatments

  • Medications. Substances like glycopyrrolate aim to curb excessive sweating. However, it’s crucial to be aware of potential side effects like dry mouth, headaches and urinary retention that may accompany such treatments.
  • If the issue lies in insufficient sweating, a straightforward suggestion may involve staying indoors during hot weather.
  • On the flip side, when dealing with excessive perspiration, alternative approaches come into play. These can range from steering clear of heat and trying prescription antiperspirants to considering surgical procedures that target the sweat glands or their controlling nerves.

Conclusion

Sweating is essential for regulating body temperature, but too much or too little can be a concern. Excessive sweating, while potentially embarrassing, is just one side of the spectrum. On the other hand, not sweating enough can lead to overheating, which is dangerous for your health. It’s important to recognize symptoms related to both excessive and inadequate sweating. If you’re experiencing these issues, consulting with a healthcare professional is vital for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions that are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our companyour drug and subscribe to our newsletter.

Sources

FAQs

Why do we sweat?

Sweating serves dual purposes in our bodies: it helps regulate our body temperature, ensuring we stay cool during warm weather or physical activity and it responds to stress. Whether it's a reaction to emotional challenges or part of the fight-or-flight response, our bodies use sweating as a versatile mechanism for maintaining equilibrium. 

What is the relationship between diabetes, neuropathy and sweating?

Living with diabetes can disrupt the body's ability to regulate temperature and produce the right amount of sweat to keep cool. There are two primary factors contributing to irregular sweating in diabetes: low blood sugar levels and nerve damage known as diabetic neuropathy.  

When blood sugar drops significantly, below 70 mg/dl, it triggers a fight-or-flight response, leading to an increase in sweating. On the other hand, prolonged high blood sugar levels can cause diabetic neuropathy, affecting nerve function. 

When nerves controlling sweat glands are damaged, they may send incorrect signals or none at all, resulting in either excessive or insufficient sweating.  

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