What is autonomic neuropathy?
Autonomic neuropathy results from damage to the nerves that control our body’s automatic functions. These include:
- Blood pressure regulation
- Temperature control
- Bladder function
- Sexual function
The damage affects the communication between the brain, organs and the autonomic nervous system, which comprises the heart, blood vessels and sweat glands.
Causes of autonomic neuropathy
While diabetes is the primary culprit behind autonomic neuropathy, it’s not the only cause. Other illnesses, infections and certain medications can also cause this condition.
Peripheral neuropathy disrupts the autonomic signals, leading to malfunctions in the body’s automatic processes. This can result in:
- Sweating irregularities: Over sweating or not sweating enough. Such an imbalance can cause dryness and scaling on your feet or excessive sweating after meals.
- Heat intolerance: Due to the inability to sweat properly.
Your doctor will assess the situation based on your symptoms and a physical examination. To specifically address sweating problems, a couple of tests might be administered:
- Quantitative Sudomotor Axon Reflex Test: By using a small electrical current, this test gauges the functionality of your sweat glands.
- Thermoregulatory Sweat Test: This tests for irregular sweat patterns. A temperature-sensitive powder is applied all over your body. The color changes as you sweat in a special temperature-controlled chamber.
Based on your symptoms, a doctor may prescribe:
- Medications like glycopyrrolate to reduce sweating. Note: such medications can have side effects such as dry mouth, headache, urinary retention and others.
- If you’re not sweating enough, the advice might be as simple as staying indoors during hot weather.
- For excessive sweating, there are other options, such as avoiding heat, prescription antiperspirants or even surgical procedures to target the sweat glands or their controlling nerves.
Problems and complications
Autonomic neuropathy can wreak havoc on sweat glands. This means:
- Night sweating or excessive sweating while eating certain foods
- Inconsistent sweating patterns, with some body parts sweating more than others
- Difficulty in body temperature regulation, leading to risks like hypothermia or heat-related illnesses
- Reduced sweating, especially in the hands and feet, can lead to dry skin prone to injuries or infections. This can also make it challenging to detect low blood sugar in diabetic patients
While sweating might seem like a minor inconvenience, in the context of autonomic neuropathy, it plays a crucial role in temperature regulation and overall well-being. If you believe you’re experiencing any symptoms related to this, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive 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 company, our drug and subscribe to our newsletter.
- “Autonomic neuropathy – Symptoms & causes – Mayo Clinic”. Mayo Clinic
- “Peripheral Neuropathy: What It Is, Symptoms & Treatment”. Cleveland Clinic
- “Peripheral Neuropathy | Cedars-Sinai”. Cedars-Sinai
- “Autonomic Neuropathy: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment”. WebMD
- “Autonomic Neuropathy – NIDDK”. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- “Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy”. PeaceHealth
- “Autonomic neuropathy | Beacon Health System”. Beacon Health System
Does peripheral neuropathy make you sweat more?
Autonomic neuropathy, a type of peripheral neuropathy, significantly affects the body's automatic functions, including sweating.
What nerve problems cause sweating?
Autonomic neuropathy results from damage to the nerves that control our body’s automatic functions. The damage affects the communication between the brain, organs and the autonomic nervous system, which comprises the heart, blood vessels and sweat glands.
How do you get rid of nerve sweats?
Medications like glycopyrrolate to reduce sweating. Note: such medications can have side effects such as dry mouth, headache, urinary retention, and others. For excessive sweating, there are other options, such as avoiding heat, prescription antiperspirants or even surgical procedures to target the sweat glands or their controlling nerves.