Cold Sweats Causes and Treatments

Cold sweats can be a common occurrence with stress or anxiety, but be aware that there are certain medical conditions that can also cause cold sweats.

Cold sweats refer to any sudden sweating that is not brought on by exertion or heat. It usually occurs due to the body’s response to stress. This is the body’s natural flight or fight response. It can also be a sign of an illness or injury and should be recognized as a possible symptom when applying first aid.

Recognizing Cold Sweats

It can come on suddenly due to a number of reasons. You would expect sweating after some physical activity, but cold sweats are brought on by other things. They can be worse when occurring at night because people have a tendency to fight the sweats when they come. This causes even more anxiety and the inability to sleep due to fear, creating a vicious cycle of anxiety and cold sweats.

Symptoms That Can Occur with Cold Sweats

It typically occur in conjunction with other symptoms. These symptoms can vary depending on the causes and any underlying medical conditions. Common symptoms include:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Pain or achiness
  • Dizziness
  • Chills
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting

When to Seek Medical Help

At times cold sweats can be a sign of a serious condition. You should seek immediate medical attention if your symptoms indicate something more serious or life-threatening. These symptoms include:

  • A change in behavior or mental status such as delirium, lethargy, confusion, or hallucinations
  • A change in your level of alertness or loss of consciousness
  • Difficult breathing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • Pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest, jaw, shoulder, arm, or upper back
  • High fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Seizures
  • Heart palpitations
  • Grey or bluish discoloration of lips, nails, or skin
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue
  • Severe pain
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Bloody stool, bleeding from the rectum, or vomiting blood

Causes of Cold Sweats

It usually occurs as a result of the body’s fight or flight response when dealing with stress. It is a natural response to the following situations:

1. Pain

A patient suffering intense pain due to fractures, amputations, or even a migraine can experience cold sweats.

2. Stress, Anxiety, or Fear

Fear and anxiety can cause anyone stressful, especially with lifestyle or worry over finances, jobs, or relationships. Anything from everyday stress to intense panic can trigger the body’s fight or flight response leading to cold sweats.

3. Lack of Oxygen

Less oxygen in the bloodstream can be the result of severe shortness of breath. This causes the brain to seek more oxygen, triggering a stress response throughout the body, including cold sweats.

4. Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia, a complication for diabetic patients, as well as for people who have poor nutrition and do not eat enough or frequently. This is a drop in blood glucose levels and the symptoms include dizziness, trembling, blurred vision, and cold sweats.

5. Low Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 mm Hg. But when it drops to 90/60, or even lower, this is low blood pressure. There are a number of causes of low blood sugar, such as malnutrition, blood loss, and dehydration and the symptoms include clammy skin, dizziness, and cold sweats.

6. Shock

When blood flow to the brain and other vital organs gets dangerously low, this leads to the body going into shock. Shock is a life-threatening condition usually due to a severe injury or acute illness and requires immediate medical attention. Cold sweats are a common symptom of shock.

7. Menopause

Usually experienced by women over the age of forty, it marks the end of the normal menstrual cycle and can cause a number of symptoms. These include insomnia, hot flashes, and cold sweats.

8. Migraines

These recurring and chronic headaches, which typically occur on one side of the head, can be triggered by a number of causes including diet and stress. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, and cold sweats.

9. Medications

Antibiotics and blood pressure medications are known to cause cold sweats in some people. Certain over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements can also cause this condition.

10. Heart Attack

One of the most severe causes is heart attack, where the blood flow is reduced to the heart by a blockage of the blood vessels. Chest pain, arm pain, and excessive sweating, or cold sweats, are the signs of a heart attack.

11. Other Health Conditions

Other possible medical conditions include circulatory disorders, influenza, viral infections, and immune disorders. Chills, weakness, and dizziness are also common symptoms of these conditions that can accompany cold sweats.

Treatment of Cold Sweats

All of the above mentioned causes can be treated or cured, either with medical attention or at-home care. You can do a number of things to alleviate:

1. Relax

Stress management techniques can be used to treat fits due to stress and anxiety. Physical activities such as jogging, yoga, breathing exercises or a warm bath can all help you relax. Slower breathing can help reduce panic and anxiety attacks and lead to a faster recovery. You can seek help from your physician if you are having a hard time coping with anxiety.

2. Make Changes to Sleeping Environment

Use your thermostat to control the temperature in your bedroom to help reduce the incidence of cold sweats. If cold sweats occur during sleep, change the bedding and wear loose and comfortable sleep clothing. You can also make additional environmental changes by removing anything that gives off light, such as a clock or computer, turn off the television, and use blackout curtains to keep out unwanted light from outside.

3. Diet

You can make changes to your diet to avoid consuming foods before bedtime that can trigger cold sweats. If you have low blood sugar, make sure that you do not skip meals or spread your meals and snacks out throughout the day. Limit your intake of high-sugar foods before bedtime as well.

4. Be Productive

When it occurs, engage in an activity to keep your mind off of it and prevent further anxiety. Read or do a crossword puzzle.

5. Medical Intervention

Do not take any medication without first consulting with your physician. Therapy and anti-anxiety medications can help manage your cold sweats and other anxiety symptoms. Only a doctor can treat other serious medical conditions.



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