Sweating over lack of perspiration

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July 18, 2019 - 10:07 AM

Dear Dr. Roach: I am an elderly woman who has never perspired and would like to know why. Heat makes me very sick. I love the outdoors, but can be out only a short while in the warmer weather. No one seems to have an answer for me. — P.M.

Answer: The name for the condition of no sweating at all is anhidrosis, and there are several causes. There are rare conditions people are born with. These are a possibility, since you have never perspired. However, nearly all of these rare diseases have other significant symptoms you don’t mention.

Damage to sweat glands can be seen in autoimmune diseases and diseases that can destroy sweat glands. None of these is likely, as they, too, have symptoms you would have identified during your life. Likewise, you don’t mention medications, which may have lack of sweating as a side effect.

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