Diaphoresis


Diaphoresis

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Diaphoresis is profuse sweating and represents an autonomic nervous system (ANS) response to physical or psychogenic stress, fever, or high environmental temperature. When caused by stress, diaphoresis may be generalized or limited to palms, soles, and forehead.

Diaphoresis

Diaphoresis usually begins abruptly and may be accompanied by other signs, such as tachycardia and increased blood pressure. This signs varies with age because sweat glands function immaturely in infants and are less active in elderly patients. Intermittent diaphoresis may accompany chronic disorders characterized by recurrent fever; isolated diaphoresis may mark and episode of acute pain or fever.

When caused by a high external temperature, diaphoresis is a normal response. Diaphoresis also commonly occurs during menopause and is preceded by a sensation of intense heat. Other normal causes include exertion that accelerates metabolism and mild-to-moderate anxiety that helps initiate the fight-or-flight response.

Possible Risk Factors:

    AIDS.

  • Acromegaly.

  • Anxiety disorders.

  • Autonomic hyperreflexia.

  • Drugs and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

  • Empyema.

  • Heart failure.

  • Heat exhaustion.

  • Hodgkin's disease.

  • Hypoglycemia.

  • Infective endocarditis.

  • Lung abscess.

  • Malaria.

  • Pesticide poisoning.

  • Pheochromocytoma.

  • Ischemic bowel disease.

  • Lactose intolerance.

  • Listeriosis.

  • Pseudomembranous enterocolitis.

  • Rotavirus Gastroenteritis.

  • Ulcerative colitis.

  • Hypoglycemia.

  • Diabetes mellitus.

To help prevent the excess moisture from occurring in the first place, you might want to try these steps:

    Keep stress at bay as anxiety can increase sweating.

  • Reduce the amount of hot beverages, like coffee, that you drink.

  • Use a deodorant that also has an antiperspirant; try putting it on at night before bed as well as in the morning.

  • Explore possible medical solutions with your doctor, such as prescription antiperspirant, iontophoresis, Botox injections and prescription medications.

Symptoms:

The most commonly experienced symptom of excessive sweating is body odor. Odor develops due to yeast or bacteria that live naturally in the skin. As the skin becomes moist and mixes with these, odor is released. Another explanation is when the apocrine gland release sweat directly into the tubule of the glands. When placed under stress, these tubules contract and sweat is pushed to the surface of the skin. Bacteria will begin to break down and odor is released. Medications that are used for other treatments and diet will also affect odor. Medical conditions like kidney failure and diabetic ketoacidosis will have the same effect. Areas that produce excessive sweat usually appear pink or white, but, in severe cases, may appear cracked, scaly, and soft.

Diagnosis:

If the patient is diaphoretic, begin the history by having the patient describe his chief complaint. Then explore associated signs and symptoms. Does the patient have insomnia, headache, or changes in vision or hearing? Does he have palpitations? Ask about pleuritic pain, a cough, difficulty breathing, paresthesia, muscle cramps or stiffness, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Ask the female patient about amenorrhea and changes in her menstrual cycle. Complete the history by asking about travel to tropical countries. Did the patient recently experienced an insect bite that may have transmitted a disease such as typhoid fever? Finally, obtain a thorough drug history.

Next perform a physical examination. Determine the extent of diaphoresis by inspecting the trunk and extremities as well as the palms, soles, and forehead. Note whether diaphoresis occurs during the day or at night. Note poor skin turgor and dry mucous membrane. Check for splinter hemorrhages and Plummer's nails. Check the patient's vital signs. Examine the eyes for pupillary abnormalities, exophthalmos, and excessive tearing.

Treatment:

When diaphoresis is pathologic, the underlying cause should be treated. When the cause is menopause, the woman may wish to ask her physician about estrogen replacement. Once potential pathological and environmental causes of diaphoresis are ruled out by a physician, it is more accurately referred to as hyperhidrosis.

Treatment of diaphoresis most often begins at home with over-the-counter antiperspirants. These contain certain compounds that block the sweat pores and reduce the amount of sweat that can reach the skin. Another typical over-the-counter product is deodorant. It eliminates odor, but does not block the sweat pores like antiperspirants. They work by turning the skin to an acidic state which is not a desired place for bacteria. Many antiperspirants will contain deodorants. If these products are not effective, prescription strength versions can be prescribed.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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