Diaphoresis – types and causes of diaphoresis


Diaphoresis is described as an excessive, abnormal sweating in relation to your environment and level of activity. It will affect your entire body rather than a part of it.

This is also called as hyperhidrosis. Hence Hyperhidrosis is the secretion of sweat in amounts greater than physiologically needed for thermoregulation.

Sweating assists in

  1. Thermoregulation,
  2. Skin hydration,
  3. Fluid and electrolyte balance.

Three types of sweat glands, eccrine, apocrine, and apoeccrine glands have been found in humans. Eccrine sweat glands are responsible for hyperhidrosis, although apoeccrine glands might also play a role in axillary hyperhidrosis.

The primary function of eccrine sweat glands is thermoregulation, with cooling resulting from evaporation of eccrine sweat. Eccrine sweat glands are located throughout the body, but they are found in greatest quantity in the palms and soles. Sweating on the face, chest, and back is generally due to heat stimuli, while sweating of the palms and soles is due to emotional stress. Eccrine glands are innervated by the sympathetic nervous system but utilize acetylcholine as the primary neurotransmitter. Thermal and emotional sweating are controlled by different regions of the brain. Thermal sweating is controlled by the hypothalamus via the thermo-sensitive preoptic sweat center, while emotional sweating is regulated by the cerebral cortex.

There are two types of Diaphoresis (hyperhidrosis) are:

Primary Focal and Secondary Generalized.

Primary focal hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating that is not caused by another medical condition, nor is it a side effect of medications. Primary focal hyperhidrosis often begins in childhood or adolescence, especially hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet. Patients with primary focal hyperhidrosis generally have hyperhidrosis involving the face, scalp, palms and soles.

Secondary hyperhidrosis:

The most common cause of generalized sweating is excessive heat. Generalized hyperhidrosis can be due to systemic diseases or medications.

Causes of diaphoresis

Because it’s a symptom of so many conditions and diseases, here some of the most common causes are explained below:

  1. Menopause:

Menopause is a common cause of excessive sweating in women. Fluctuating hormones, such as estrogen, send false signals to your brain that your body is overheated and this may trigger excess perspiration.

  1. Gustatory sweating (mild sweating around the lips, nose, and forehead) occurs normally with the consumption of hot, spicy foods.
  2. Patients with previous spinal cord injuries may occasionally develop episodes of diffuse sweating long after their injury.
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Diabetes
  5. Hyperthyroidism
  6. Heart attack