Cold Sweats: Common Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Cold sweats

Cold sweats is far different condition from ordinary sweating and is regardless of how hot and cold it is in the atmosphere. Cold sweat is recognized as sudden chills felt in your body.

It often begins with your palms, armpits, and soles. It is usually the body’s reaction to stress that helps us to react in a threatening situation.

Sweating is the creation of fluids by sweat glands generated by fear or anxiety which you can also relate to the cold sweat.

Cold sweats are not night sweats; they are both different things, as night sweat appear only during the night.

Related Reading: Itchy Armpits: 12 Causes, Treatments and Prevention Tips

Cold Sweats vs. Night Sweats: Are They Same?

Cold sweats and night sweats are two different terms with altogether distinct signs, symptoms, causes, and remedies. It is not a medical problem itself, but symptoms of a severe one.

Cold sweat can cause severe injury, shock, shortness of breath, heart attack and too little sugar in the bloodstream.

While night sweats or excessive sweating during the night can cause menopause, idiopathic hyperhidrosis, infections, and cancer.

It’s essential to identify both cold sweats and night sweats in their particular manner. It would be beneficial if you are providing first aid, as it can be a sign of significant injury or illness.

Cold Sweats: Is It a Sign of Heart Attack?

In some cases, yes. Cold Sweats can assist the heart attack along with:

  • Chest pain or pressure in your chest
  • Pressure on in the neck or arm
  • Pain or discomfort in your jaw, stomach or back
  • Breathing problem
  • A feeling that you’ll be dead
  • Light-headedness

Go for a medical emergency as soon as possible, if cold sweats also come with symptoms mentioned above.Make patient to have a chewable aspirin while waiting for the ambulance to arrive

Cold Sweats: 12 Possible Causes

Anything that sources flight and fight response in the body can cause cold sweats. What must be your action to fix it, depends on the underlying causes, which can be:

1. Shock

When there is lack of blood flow that eventually delivers the less amount of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, you may get shocks. It is a severe, and life-threatening condition that cold sweats can identify.

Other symptoms to be observed are:

  • Rapid pulse (over 100 beats per minute)
  • Rapid breathing (over 20 breaths per minute)
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness while sitting up and standing

2. Infection or Sepsis

Any virus that leads to fever can cause cold sweats along with coldness, shivering, high temperature, high pulse, and rapid breathing. It can cause your immune system to be eliminated and will make your tissues inflamed.

3. Nausea or Vertigo

Nausea is a sensation of discomfort in the stomach, it may lead to vomiting, but a person can get infected form nausea even without vomiting.

Vertigo is a situation in which a person feels that the objects around him are moving when they are not. It is an inner ear disorder.

4. Fainting

You may suddenly turn unconscious and fall. It happens when your body is going through dehydration, feeling hot and experiencing too much sweat after exercise or external temperature.

Fainting occurs due to the decrease in blood supply to the brain which leads to loss of oxygen.

Other signs are:

  • Getting too hot or sweating too much due to exercise or external temperature
  • Blood not flowing out of your legs quickly enough (pooling)
  • Being overly exhausted

5. Hypotension

If you feel dizzy or confused, have blurry vision or pass out without warning, you can also call it hypotension or low blood pressure. It is because, in hypotension, your blood pressure level falls much below the normal.

6. Intense Pain from an Injury

Amputations or Injuries like fractures can lead to cold sweats. Suppose a person with a broken ankle is in sweats, it means he is in the state of extreme unbearable pain.

7. Migraines

Migraines may emerge from stress or environmental factors causing severe headaches for an extended period. Trouble in speaking, feeling numb or weak on either side of the body, loss of vision are a few symptoms can be noticed in this situation.

Related Reading: Pressure Points for Headaches and Migraine Pain Relief

8. Menopause

Cold sweats are one of the symptoms of menopause. It is a natural decline in reproductive hormones in the woman’s body, and she’s no longer to bear children, or it is the time when menstrual periods stop permanently.

9. Hypoxia

Insufficient levels of oxygen in the body can cause hypoxia, like, on high altitudes or polluted areas which are full of smoke and dust particles.

10. Stress or Anxiety

Unexplained pain, vomiting, and tensed muscles are identification marks for anxiety or stress. Triggered by an instance anxiety is the reaction to stress which leaves annoyed and frustrated.

11. Hypoglycaemia

Hypoglycaemia is the situation in which blood sugar decreases from the average level. In this case, you might observe the signs of clumsiness, confusion, and loss of consciousness or even death.

12. Hyperhidrosis

Conditions like menopause, tumor, obesity, diabetes, mercury poisoning and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) can cause Hyperhidrosis.

It is also known as excessive sweating and results in a lot of unhappiness.

Symptoms Associated with Cold Sweats

Cold sweat is the first and foremost symptom, or it can come along with other signs simultaneously. Suppose, you get back to your work out, then it is apparent that you would sweat.

But the cold sweats occur at any time or any room temperature and has no relevance to your work out.

Sometimes sweats appear at night; they are the night sweats. And night sweats are different from cold sweats, but both need your attention.

Treatment of Cold Sweats

Like others, cold sweats also have procedures and remedies by which you can protect yourself. To avoid such infections, we suggest:

1. Try and Change Your Sleeping Environment

Wear loose clothes, to eliminate the effect of cold sweats. Use dark or black curtains to block that unwanted extra light in your room. Switch off the lights of your room before sleeping.

2. Distract and be Productive

Keep yourself busy in some of the activities that entertain you like reading, playing, listening music and others.

3. Relax

You can take up yoga, jog, or bathing in warm water to relieve you of the stress and anxiety.

4. Diet

Concentrate on the healthy food and avoid taking meals before bed. It will inevitably reduce the chances of sweats.

5. Medical intervention

Therapies would be a better than over the counter medicines, to deal with cold sweats. Especially,

  • Prescription antiperspirants
  • Botox injections and Nerve blockers which can block or restrict
  • Botox neuro-signals to and from your brain
  • Antidepressants
  • Drink plenty of water through the day to keep yourself hydrated
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid unhealthy habits of smoking or drinking excessive alcohol

Just a little bit of extra care is all that you need to prevent and overcome cold sweats.

When to See Your Doctor?

You may always prefer to consult experts, rather than being a doctor of your own. Especially when you are facing one of these:

  • Delirium, lethargy, confusion, hallucinations or a change of behavior, state of mind
  • Loss of consciousness or level of alertness
  • Severe pain
  • Uncontrollable bleeding, blood vomits, bloody stool, bleeding from the rectum
  • High fever – Over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty in breathing, wheezing
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue
  • Pain, pressure, or tightness in the throat, chest, jaw, shoulder, arm, or upper back
  • Grey or bluish discoloration of lips, nails, or skin 

“Cold Sweats Causes and Treatments”, MD health website, November 10, 2017;
Luo, E., “What Causes Cold Sweats and What Can You Do About It?”, health line website, July 12, 2017;
Brouhard, R., “Causes and Treatment of Cold Sweats”, very well website, August 14, 2017;
Andre, D., “Cold sweats causes, symptoms, and treatment”, Bel Marra Health website, November 4, 2017;

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