Anhidrosis is the inability to sweat normally. When you don't perspire, your body can't cool itself, which can lead to overheating and sometimes to heatstroke — a potentially fatal condition.
Anhidrosis — sometimes called hypohidrosis — can be difficult to diagnose. Mild anhidrosis often goes unrecognized, and dozens of factors can cause the condition, including skin trauma and certain diseases and medications. You can inherit anhidrosis or develop it later in life.
Treatment of anhidrosis involves addressing the underlying cause, if one can be found.
Signs and symptoms of anhidrosis include:
A lack of perspiration can occur:
Unaffected areas may try to compensate by producing more perspiration, so it's possible to sweat profusely on one part of your body and very little or not at all on another. Anhidrosis that affects a large portion of your body prevents proper cooling, so vigorous exercise, hard physical work and hot weather can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke.
Anhidrosis can develop on its own or as one of several signs and symptoms of another disorder, such as diabetes, neuropathy or psoriasis.
When to see a doctor
Anhidrosis occurs when your sweat glands stop working, and this can happen for a number of reasons.
Many illnesses can damage your autonomic nerves, including:
Dehydration may be caused by:
Certain factors make anhidrosis more likely, including:
Heat-related illnesses are the most serious complications of anhidrosis. Children are especially vulnerable because their core temperatures rise faster than adults, and they dissipate heat less efficiently. All children should be monitored closely for overheating, but extra precautions should be taken when a child has anhidrosis.
Heat-related problems include:
Preparing for your appointment
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. You may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (dermatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For anhidrosis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Your doctor is likely to suspect anhidrosis based on your signs and symptoms, a thorough medical history, and physical exam, but you may need certain tests to confirm the diagnosis. These include:
Sometimes the cause of anhidrosis or hypohidrosis can't be found.
Thermoregulatory sweat test
Moisture-sensitive powder indicates the presence of excessive sweating (top) compared with normal-appearing hands (bottom) after hyperhidrosis surgery. ...
Treatments and drugs
Treatment isn't always necessary
Treating heat-related problems
Anhidrosis often can't be prevented, but serious heat-related illnesses can. To stay safe:
Last Updated: 2012-02-15
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