Sweating from things like exertion or overheating affects your serum magnesium and other electrolyte levels. If you experience excessive sweating, you are at increased risk for a low magnesium level, or hypomagnesemia. A low magnesium level causes several unpleasant symptoms, some of them dangerous. Therefore, understanding the cause of your excessive sweating, as well as the symptoms of hypomagnesemia, is important.
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Your body produces sweat to counteract increased body temperature. As the sweat evaporates from your skin, it cools you, which prevents overheating. As you cool down, sweat production decreases and eventually stops. However, if you have a condition known as hyperhidrosis, you experience bouts of excessive sweating that may be unpredictable. Hyperhidrosis can be caused by hyperthyroidism, lung disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. Cancer and glucose control disorders are also associated with hyperhidrosis.
Low Magnesium Levels
Hyperhidrosis can lead to hypomagnesema if left untreated. Normally, your serum magnesium level is 1.5 to 2.5 mEq/L. However, excessive sweating can cause magnesium levels to fall below 1.5 mEq/L, at which time you may begin to experience symptoms, such as numbness and fatigue. Muscular symptoms of low magnesium include spasms, cramps and weakness. Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite are gastrointestinal symptoms. Untreated hypomagnesemia can lead to changes in your personality, stroke, coronary spasm and heart arrhythmia.
If medical professionals suspect a magnesium imbalance, additional testing is likely warranted. Expect to undergo blood tests to measure your magnesium level, as well as a complete metabolic panel, which provides additional information to your doctor regarding your overall condition. Your doctor may also ask for a urine sample to test how much magnesium your body is excreting. Data from an electrocardiogram can alert your doctor to potential cardiac symptoms of hypomagnesemia.
Because potential complications of severe hypomagnesemia include cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest and death, treatment for acutely low magnesium is emergent. Depending on the type of hypomagnesemia you have, supplementation with oral magnesium may be the only necessary intervention. However, if your condition warrants, your doctor may decide that administration of a magnesium preparation intravenously is a safer, faster intervention. You may also receive intravenous fluid replacement. Regardless of the initial intervention, you should talk to your doctor about treating the underlying cause of your hyperhidrosis to prevent future episodes of hypomagnesemia.