Do you have night sweats?

Do you have night sweats?

Night sweats are a nonspecific symptom that could be from many, diverse causes.

Night sweats occur more often in the middle-aged and older patients.  Sweating decreases the body’s core temperature and is controlled by complex feedback mechanisms.

What should your physician be considering? It is best to rule out the worst things first: malignancies or infections.  But, most often night sweats are associated with benign conditions: reflux, hyperthyroidism, obesity, menopause, and anxiety.  Bring a list of your medications as some can cause night sweats: SSRIs, ARBs, steroids, thyroid supplements.

You should see your primary care physician for a history and physical exam.  If these do not reveal the problem, a systematic strategy would be helpful. Here’s a start: lab work with complete blood count, HIV, thyroid labs, CRP (shows inflammation in the body) as well as a tuberculosis skin test and chest x-ray.  If these are all negative there are more costly and invasive tests that may be warranted (like a bone marrow biopsy, CT scan and sleep study).

Why are night sweats important?  It could be a symptom of a problem that needs addressed, but it also decreases quality of life to not get proper rest.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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