Hypohidrosis (Anhidrosis) a condition in which a person sweats less than normal in response to heat. Sweating is one of the most significant thermoregulatory mechanism to release body heat. If the body is unable to produce sufficient sweat, it can cause overheating of the body leading to life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke, hyperthermia and heat exhaustion.
This condition is difficult to diagnose. It may be inherited at birth or developed in later stages of life. It can affect the entire body, single area or multiple scattered areas of the body.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The following are the some of the signs and symptoms of hypohidrosis:
- Reduced sweating
- Flushed appearance
- Feeling overly hot
- Muscle cramps or weakness
- Elevated Heart rate
- Goosebumps on the skin even when the temperature is high
Hypohidrosis is generally caused by abnormal functioning of sweat glands. The factors responsible for decreased sweat gland function are as follows:
- Skin damage caused by burns, radiation therapy
- Severe dehydration
- Damage to sweat glands after surgery, or due to trauma
- Certain inherited metabolic disorders
- Nerve damage which may be caused by diabetes, alcoholism, and guillain-barre syndrome
- Skin conditions that clog the skin pores such as psoariasis and skin infection
- Certain drugs such as botulism toxin type A, morphine, and antipsychotics
- Connective tissue disorders such as amyloidosis and Sjogren’s syndrome.
The following are the risk factors of hypohidrosis:
- People who are over the age of 65 years, infants and children are prone to heat stress and are at risk of developing hypohidrosis.
- People having medical conditions that may damage the nerves are highly prone to develop hypohidrosis.
- Certain skin diseases may also affect sweat glands and cause hypohidrosis.
- Mutations in genes that control sweat gland function increase the risk of developing hypohidrosis.
Hypohidrosis can lead to the following complications:
- Heat exhaustion followed by weakness, nausea and rapid heartbeat after strenuous exercise.
- Heat cramps affecting muscles in legs, arms, abdomen, and back.
The doctor would perform physical examination and obtain the medical history of the patient. Your doctor may perform any of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis
Thermoregulatory Sweat test: During this test, the person’s body is coated with a powder which is sensitive to sweat and changes color in the areas he sweats. Following this, he is made to enter a chamber with a preset temperature that causes sweating in people who sweat normally. The results are based on the color changes of the powder which is documented in digital photographs.
Axon reflex test: In this test, the sweat glands are stimulated by small electrodes and the amount of sweat produced is measured.
Silastic sweat imprint test: This test is useful to detect the areas of sweating.
Skin biopsy: In this procedure, the skin cells or sometimes sweat glands are removed and examined under microscope in laboratory.
Hypohidrosis that affects large areas may require treatment. If underlying disease is causing thehypohidrosis, the doctor may treat the primary illness to relieve this condition.
- In case of drug induced hypohidrosis, the doctor may replace that particular drug with the other suitable drug or adjusting the dosage.
- Heat exhaustion: This condition can be treated by loosening the clothes and sponging with cool water.
- Heat cramps: Hypohydrosis can lead to heat cramps, for which the person should be given electrolyte rich fruit juice and cool drinks. It is advisable for the patient to avoid performing strenuous activity at least for a couple of hours.
- Heatstroke: It is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical care. However, in the meantime, the patient should be moved in to air-conditioned room, sprayed with cool water or warped in wet towel to restore proper circulation. Giving electrolyte rich cool beverage helps the patient to restore the levels of electrolytes in the blood.
The following are the simple steps to prevent hypohidrosis:
- Monitoring the physical activity to avoid overheating of body
- Wearing loose and light clothes during summer
- Staying indoors on a sunny day