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Alternative Names Return to topDecreased sweating; Anhidrosis
Definition Return to top
An abnormal lack of sweat in response to heat may be harmful, because sweating allows heat to be released from the body. The medical term for absent sweating is anhidrosis.
Considerations Return to top
Anhidrosis sometimes goes unrecognized until a substantial amount of heat or exertion fails to cause sweating.
Overall lack of sweating can be life threatening because the body will overheat. If the lack of sweating happens in a small area only, it is usually not as dangerous.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
If there is a danger of overheating, take a cool shower or sit in a cool bathtub and drink plenty of fluids. Remain in a cool environment. Move slowly during hot weather. Avoid heavy exercise and hot foods.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have a general lack of sweating or an abnormal lack of sweating when exposed to heat or strenuous exercise.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
The doctor will perform a physical exam. In emergencies, the health care team will perform rapid cooling measures and give you fluids to stabilize you.
Your doctor may ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. You may be given drugs to cause sweating.
You may be asked to wrap yourself in an electric blanket or sit in a sweatbox while the health care team watches your body's reaction.
A skin biopsy may be done.Update Date: 4/10/2009 Updated by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.