Anhidrosis is the disorder in which the person cannot sweat (perspire) normally. This disables the body to cool itself properly, which can result into overheating and sometimes a potential fatal heatstroke.
Anhidrosis (hypohidrosis) is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Mild anhidrosis often goes unrecognized. Dozens of factors can cause the condition, including skin trauma and certain diseases and medications. It can be inherited or a person can develop it later in life.
Treatment of anhidrosis refers to treatment of the underlying cause.
The symptoms of anhidrosis include:
- Little or no perspiration,
- Muscle cramps or weakness,
- Feeling hot.
A lack of perspiration can occur:
- Over most of the body,
- In a single area,
- In scattered patches.
The parts of the body that can sweat usually try to produce more perspiration, so it is possible to sweat abundantly on one part of the body and very little or not at all on another. Anhidrosis that affects a large portion of the body prevents proper cooling, so vigorous exercise, hard physical work and hot weather can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke.
Anhidrosis is a dysfunction of the sweat gland. Sometimes it is a result of a congenital condition or one that affects your nerves or skin. Anhidrosis can be caused by dehydration, but sometimes the cause cannot be determined.
Causes of anhidrosis include:
- Conditions the person was born with,
- Inherited conditions that affect the metabolic system,
- Connective tissue diseases,
Certain factors make anhidrosis more likely, including:
- Some health problems,
- Skin disorder,
- Genetic abnormalities.
The most serious complications of anhidrosis are the heat-related illnesses. It is especially true for children whose core temperatures rise faster than those of adults, and their bodies release heat less efficiently.
Heat-related problems include:
- Heat cramps. These muscle spasms, which can tighten muscles in your legs, arms, abdomen and back, are generally more painful and prolonged than are typical nighttime leg cramps.
- Heat exhaustion. Symptoms such as weakness, nausea and a rapid heartbeat usually begin after strenuous exercise.
- Heatstroke. This is a life-threatening condition. The body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher. If not treated immediately, heatstroke can cause hallucinations, loss of consciousness, coma and even be fatal.
It is impossible to prevent anhidrosis, but you can prevent serious heat-related illnesses. To stay safe:
- Learn the signs of heat-related illness and how to treat them,
- Wear loose, light clothing when it's warm,
- Stay indoors on hot days,
- Monitor your activity level closely so you don't overdo.