When there is not adequate electrolyte and fluid replacement during times of excessive sweating, adverse health issues such as low serum magnesium can result. Whether it occurs as a result of exercise or a medical condition, significant episodes of sweating can put you at increased risk for low magnesium, also known as hypomagnesemia. Understanding the signs and symptoms can lower the likelihood of experiencing uncomfortable, serious and sometimes life-threatening complications.
Regulation of your body temperature occurs through the production and evaporation of sweat. When your temperature rises from activities such as exercise, your body produces enough sweat to cool you until you finish that activity. If you experience excessive unpredictable sweating, however, it could be a condition called hyperhidrosis. Because excessive sweating is associated with conditions such as hypomagnesemia, it is important that your doctor identify the underlying cause of your hyperhidrosis. Potential causes include heart disease, anxiety conditions, lung disease and cancer.
Importance of Magnesium
Without the appropriate amount of serum magnesium, your body has a difficult time efficiently completing many different processes. Without optimal serum magnesium, disruptions in normal muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm and bone formation are likely. Your immune system may become weak as well. Magnesium is also associated with the regulation of your blood glucose and normalization of your blood pressure. It is also possible that a healthy magnesium level has a protective effect against certain diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
A normal blood magnesium level is between 1.5 mEq/L and 2.5 mEq/L for a healthy adult. When your magnesium level falls lower than 1.5 mEq/L, you are at risk for symptoms of hypomagnesemia. These symptoms include muscle cramping and muscle spasming. You may also notice a general weakness of your muscles. Fatigue is also a symptom of the condition, as is numbness. Untreated hypomagnesemia, which may result in continued loss of the electrolyte, potentially progresses to abnormal eye movements -- nystagmus -- and convulsions. Respiratory and cardiac arrest, and even death, are dangerous complications.
If excessive sweating is the underlying cause of your magnesium deficiency, expect your doctor to investigate the primary cause of your hyperhidrosis. Treatment of this cause may resolve the electrolyte disturbance. If your magnesium level is low enough to warrant emergency intervention, your doctor may order oral magnesium supplements or the administration of both intravenous fluids and magnesium through a vein. Your doctor may also prescribe additional interventions, such as medication, to relieve the symptoms of your hypomagnesemia.
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