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.