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Diabetes and Sweating: Causes, Symptoms, and Management

Diabetes and Sweating

Diabetes and Sweating

Living with diabetes brings forth various symptoms, some more commonly known than others. One lesser-known effect of this condition is an increase in sweating. In this article, we will explore the connection between diabetes and abnormal sweating, its causes, symptoms, and potential management strategies.

Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Sweating:

People with diabetes often struggle to regulate their body temperature effectively, leading to difficulties in maintaining an appropriate level of sweating. Excessive or inadequate sweating can signal problems in blood sugar management and other aspects of diabetes care.

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How Diabetes Causes Abnormal Sweating:

Abnormal sweating can arise due to stress, cardiovascular issues, or hormonal imbalances—all of which can be influenced by diabetes. Consequently, individuals with diabetes may experience variations in their sweating patterns.

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Symptoms of Sweating Related to Diabetes:

“Diabetic sweating symptoms” encompass any form of irregular sweating associated with diabetes, including excessive or insufficient sweating.

Common Reasons for Abnormal Sweating in People with Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes:

Excessive sweating in the upper body is common among individuals with type 1 diabetes, often linked to nervous system damage and low blood sugar levels. The sweating patterns may vary across body regions.

Type 2 Diabetes:

People with type 2 diabetes may experience abnormal sweating for similar reasons as type 1 diabetes, although regional variations may be less pronounced.

Types of Abnormal Sweating:


Diabetic nerve damage can cause overactivity of sweat glands, resulting in excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis. This may occur during light physical activity, stressful situations, efforts to keep warm, or even in cool environments.

Gustatory Sweating:

Another form of sweating closely related to diabetes is gustatory or facial sweating. This condition may manifest as facial, neck, scalp, or chest sweating, triggered by diabetic nerve damage, even during non-spicy meals.

Night Sweats:

Low blood glucose levels due to diabetes treatment can lead to night sweats, as they trigger the release of adrenaline. Maintaining better blood glucose control is the primary preventive measure, along with avoiding late-night exercise, specific insulin types in the evening, and late-night consumption of beverages.

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Affected Areas:

Diabetes-related sweating can affect various parts of the body, including the underarms, hands, feet, face, chest, and neck.

Treatment Options for Excessive Sweating:

Several treatment options are available for individuals experiencing excessive sweating due to diabetes:

Procedures, including Botox injections, certain surgeries, and electrical current therapy.
Medications like anticholinergics (nerve-blocking medications), antidepressants, and clinical-strength antiperspirants.

Causes of Low Sweating in People with Diabetes:

People with diabetes may also encounter anhidrosis, which involves insufficient sweating. Anhidrosis is similar to hyperhidrosis in that it results from diabetic nerve damage, but in this case, the nerves responsible for activating sweat glands are “stuck” in the “off” position. Type 1 diabetes individuals are more prone to this condition.

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Symptoms of Anhidrosis:

Common symptoms of anhidrosis include a lack of perspiration, difficulty regulating body temperature, vulnerability to overheating, dizziness, flushed face, rapid heartbeat, muscle cramps or weakness, and nausea.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Diabetes-Related Sweating:

Wearing the Right Clothes:

Selecting appropriate clothing is crucial for managing excess sweating. Opt for natural fabrics like cotton and seek out sportswear with moisture-wicking properties. Regularly changing clothes and avoiding daily use of the same shoes can help reduce sweaty feet.

Staying Cool with Anhidrosis:

For those dealing with anhidrosis, actively managing body temperature is essential. Strategies include avoiding strenuous physical activity in hot weather, adjusting room temperatures, taking cold showers, and staying well-hydrated.

Controlling Blood Glucose:

Managing blood sugar levels plays a vital role in preventing night sweats and other diabetes-related sweating issues. Reliable blood glucose monitoring tools and continuous glucose monitors can provide essential information for maintaining proper blood sugar control.