We all sweat when we are feeling warm or on exertion. Cold sweat is experienced mainly during anxiety, stress, pain, or infection. In the Medical World, it is known as Diaphoresis. It is a way of the body’s response to stress which is called the ‘Fight or Flight response. It is triggered due to the hormonal changes the body undergoes during this response.
Unlike normal sweating which happens after a workout or any physical activity, cold sweats start suddenly and at any temperature. At times, cold sweats happen at night. It appears mostly in armpits, palms, and soles. It can also be an indicator of menopause, hormonal problems, low blood sugar, or neurological problems.
Common Causes Of Cold Sweat
- Shock: A person’s body goes into shock in response to extreme environmental conditions or severe injury. When a body goes into shock the organs do not get as much blood and oxygen as needed by it for normal functioning. In such a state one might experience cold sweat.
- Infection: When our body responds to severe bacterial or fungal infection, leading to inflammation or blood clots. A few blood vessels might rapture causing lack of blood supply and oxygen to organs thus causing cold sweat.
- Low Blood Pressure(Syncope):When the blood pressure falls drastically and the organs do not receive sufficient oxygen one experiences cold sweat.
- Pain from Injuries: Severe pain caused by an injury like breaking of a bone or getting hit in the head leads to cold sweat.
- Low Blood Glucose: In Hypoglycemia when the blood glucose levels fall, body responds in the same way as during lack of oxygen causing cold sweat.
- Fear and Anxiety: Excessive stress at work, home or even school can trigger cold sweat.
- Shortness Of Breath: Shortness of breath caused by smoke or high altitudes deprives the organs of the needed oxygen resulting in cold sweat.
- Heart Attack: Cold Sweat is the first sign of a heart attack
- Menopause: During menopause there is a change in the balance of the hormone’s estrogen and progesterone. This leads to both hot flashes and cold sweat.
Treatment Of Cold Sweat
Cold sweat in itself is not an illness or a disease. It is just a symptom or rather a body’s way to respond to a situation. To treat cold sweat we need to identify and treat the underlying cause.
Managing Cold Sweat
It takes time to cure some illnesses, in those cases, the cold sweat though one cannot treat but can manage:
- Keep skin dry and clean: Keeping skin dry and clean in the armpits and other areas where you feel cold sweat helps to control bacterial infection in these areas.
- Have 2 pairs of shoes: Have at least 2 pairs of shoes to wear on alternate days to keep them dry. This helps to overcome the problem of shoe odor.
- Absorbent footwear: Wear cotton or wool socks which absorb sweat rather than nylon or any other synthetic footwear to prevent allergies and infections.
- Relaxation methods: Practicing mindful meditation helps to relax the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Diet: Avoiding spicy foods and caffeine helps to reduce the frequency of cold sweat.