What Causes Profuse Sweating In Diabetes Patients?

Excessive sweating is always a sign of a serious health condition unless you are experiencing hot flashes or the outside weather is extremely hot. Diabetes is one such condition which causes profuse sweating. Want to know the causes of profuse sweating in diabetes? Go through the following piece of read to get the answer.

What Causes Excessive Sweating in Diabetes Patients?

The sweat gland of a diabetic gets adversely affected due to the condition. This affects the ability of the body to cool down in hot weather conditions triggering profuse sweating even in cooler temperatures or when performing light activities.

Autonomic Neuropathy: A Cause of Profuse Sweating in Diabetes Patients

Autonomic neuropathy refers to a medical condition in which high sugar levels, medically referred to as hyperglycemia, impairs the functioning of the nerves that control involuntary functions of the body. The autonomic nervous system functions by controlling the involuntary mechanism of the body like heart rate, bladder control, detecting low sugar levels, and ability of the body to sweat. People with impaired nerves often complain of dry feet. Thus it is mandatory for diabetics to inspect their feet every day to check for the development of cracks due to excessive dryness that occurs along with profuse sweating in diabetics.

Low Blood Sugar Levels: A Common Cause of Profuse Sweating in Diabetics

Hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar level in the body. This activates a fight-or-flight response. Consequently, the body starts producing extra adrenaline and norepinephrine, which in turn trigger symptoms like heavy sweating, severe anxiety, and shaking. Diabetics can experience a sudden decrease in their blood sugar levels which leads to excessive sweating. Managing diabetes under the supervision of a healthcare provider can help control the blood sugar levels and prevent episodes of hypoglycemia causing profuse sweating.

Cardiac Problems Leading to Profuse Sweating in Diabetes Patients

Cardiovascular disease is one of the common complications of diabetes. Profuse sweating can be an indicator of a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke; especially when one is also suffering from diabetes. Diabetic patients experiencing chills, shivers and fever are advised to contact a doctor immediately.

Kidney Disease Can Also Cause Profuse Sweating in Patients Suffering From Diabetes

Profuse sweating may also be a sign of kidney dysfunction. People with a known diagnosis of chronic kidney disease often complain of profuse sweating. This may further affect blood sugar levels of the patient. Diabetics also have profuse sweating as a side effect profile of medications in addition to hypotension.

Certain Medications

Certain medications are vital for diabetes management. However, these medications can cause side effects like excessive sweating. Some of classes of medications with this side effect profile are antibiotics, medications for dry mouth, blood pressure medications, psychiatric drugs and supplements. If medications are found to be causing excessive sweating in diabetics then the primary care physician may decide to change the prescription.


Obesity is a common co-morbidity with diabetes, and also increases the risk of a cardiac condition. Sweating and obesity are closely connected with each other; however, profuse and consistent sweating even in an obese individual is a cause for concern.


Stress plays a critical role in increasing blood sugar levels and triggering sweating in diabetes patients. Stress also causes the heart to work more hard, and even lead to the symptoms of cardiac problems in diabetics.

Excessive Sweating Types in Diabetes Patients & Its Treatment

The 3 major types of excessive sweating and the appropriate treatments for them are:

  1. Hyperhidrosis in Diabetes: This kind of excessive sweating does not occur as a result of exercise or temperature. Hyperhidrosis normally is diagnosed by a neurologist, dermatologist, or endocrinologist by doing laboratory tests and sweat analysis. The treatment for Hyperhidrosis involves medical management with Botox injections, antidepressants, prescription antiperspirant, and nerve blockers. In severe cases, surgery may need to be done.
  2. Gustatory Sweating in Diabetes: This type of sweating occurs as a result of cheese or spicy foods. Gustatory sweating is restricted to the face and neck but it is extremely challenging to diagnose this condition. The patient needs to pay close attention to the symptoms and report them to their doctor to get their condition diagnosed correctly. The frontline treatment for Gustatory Sweating is using a scopolamine transdermal patch. This medication is normally used to prevent vomiting and nausea as a result of motion sickness.
  3. Night Sweats in Diabetes: Night sweats are normally caused by hypoglycemia during nighttime. Adequate diabetes management is the ideal treatment for this kind of profuse sweating. It is extremely important for diabetics experiencing night sweats to regularly test their blood glucose and get treated if their glucose level is low. Diabetes patients are required to tweak their exercise schedule a little bit and always have something to eat just before bedtime in order to prevent hypoglycemia during sleep. Diabetes patients should work with their doctor or dietician to manage erratic blood glucose numbers; especially at night time.


Profuse sweating can be an embarrassing condition and also lead to skin irritation, which in turn can increase the emotional toll on the sufferer. Lifestyle changes can also prove helpful for people who are experiencing profuse sweating with diabetes. Diabetics suffering from profuse sweating should wear shoes and clothing made of natural fibres like leather and cotton respectively. While exercising or performing intense activities, diabetics should wear clothes which absorb moisture from their body. Socks and shoes should be changed every day. Sweating profusely even in cool temperature, when resting, or at unusual time of the day, is abnormal. Excessive sweating can indicate a treatable underlying medical condition, so it is important that the sufferer takes note of their symptoms, and informs their healthcare provider about the same.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 30, 2018

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