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What Are the Causes of Night Sweats in the Elderly?

Updated April 17, 2017

The term night sweats refers to the nightly occurrence of hyperhidrosis, an occurrence of excessive sweating, sometimes to the point of soaking clothing and bedding. Various causes of night sweats exist for elderly people ranging from pre-existing medical conditions to nutritional deficiencies.

Menopause

The depletion of estrogen that women experience during menopause results in an over-stimulation of the sweat glands. This over-stimulation often leads to hot flashes and hyperhidrosis.

Mental Distress

Anxiety and depression may also cause night sweats. These mental disorders are prevalent in the elderly communities as complications with aging become more severe.

Hodgkin's Disease

Nights sweats are a symptom of certain types of Hodgkin's disease found in elderly patients.

Tuberculosis

Pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) may result in night sweats, as well as fatigue and anorexia. Although, symptoms of pulmonary TB are not always typical in elderly patients. A 2007 Archives of Internal Medicine article has associated obesity in elderly patients with a lower risk of pulmonary TB.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a commonly experienced condition in the senior community and may result in night sweats.

Medications

Certain medications, such as fever reducers, may induce excessive sweating at night.

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About the Author

Mary Freeman is a freelance writer. She has held several editorial positions at the print publication, "The Otter Realm." She traveled throughout Europe, which ultimately resulted in an impromptu move to London, where she stayed for eight months. This life experience inspired her to pursue travel writing. Freeman received a degree in human communication from California State University.