According to google:

What can cause sudden sweating?

Excessive Sweating. A person with excessive sweating has a condition called hyperhidrosis. ... In adults, the most common cause of hyperhidrosis is emotional stress. However, excessive sweating is also caused by heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and shock.

Sweating is seemingly unrelated to the heart conditions. By what mechanism can a heart disease cause excessive sweating?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a medical not a biological question in terms of SE Biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @David I wonder why we have a pathophysiology tag then. Maybe you misunderstood what a "medical question" means here. $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Tags do not define what is on topic, anyone can create them. The Tour and Help explicitly do so. Please read them. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ I disagree that this is off-topic. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ @David No thanks. I left these sites mostly because of self important admins who decide to close a question after 3 years and such things. I found that eventually every stack exchange sites turn this way. I rather go to forums, those are somewhat better. $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


The answer lies in compensation. Take myocardial infarction, for starters. MI, if large enough, severely weakens the heart, and hence, at the same level of stimulation, it can no longer pump blood effectively, causing what is called Heart Failure (inability to pump enough blood). This causes an excess stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (or more technically, neurohumoral mechanisms) in an attempt to compensate, which by its effects on heart contractility and rate increases the amount of pumped blood to match the need. This sympathetic outflow also causes increased sweating, nervousness, dry mouth etc. Sweating, nervousness are cardinal signs of acute MI.

Additional point: This compensation can only work in certain cases, say for example where the heart failure is due to blood loss with a healthy heart. But in cases like MI, this compensation is not an optimal response, rather it worsens the case, since increasing the workload on an ischaemic heart (ischaemic levels of atherosclerosis being the commonest cause of MI), further damages the wall leading to chronic heart failure and disease. This is the Broken Compensation Model for chronic heart failure. This is why we use Beta Blockers to abrogate the sympathetic system's (or more technically, the neurohumoral mechanisms') unwanted compensatory efforts, and the observed efficacy and increased longevity substantiates the validity of the model.


I added them in a bit of a haste. They might not be the best references available, but they are considerably credible. Pathophysiology of heart failure, ventricular remodelling and the involved neurohumoral mechanisms are well-studied, and you shall get several papers on it on pubmed or google scholar.

  1. Books

    1. Robbins and Cotran: Pathological Basis of Disease 9th Edition
    2. Hutchison's clinical methods 23rd edition
  2. Papers and links -Heart Failure pathogenesis

    1. Kemp CD, Conte JV. The pathophysiology of heart failure. Cardiovascular Pathology. 2012 Oct 31;21(5):365-71. (General overview of the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying)
    2. CVphysiology.com(A relatively less technical review)
    3. Kırali K, Özer T, Özgür MM. Pathophysiology in Heart Failure. InCardiomyopathies-Types and Treatments 2017. InTech.
    4. http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/monograph/61/basics/pathophysiology.html
  3. Papers and links -Sweating as a symptom of MI
    1. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
    2. Bruyninckx R, Aertgeerts B, Bruyninckx P, Buntinx F. Signs and symptoms in diagnosing acute myocardial infarction and acute coronary syndrome: a diagnostic meta-analysis. Br J Gen Pract. 2008 Feb 1;58(547):e1-8.
    3. Gokhroo RK, Ranwa BL, Kishor K, Priti K, Ananthraj A, Gupta S, Bisht D. Sweating: A Specific Predictor of ST‐Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction Among the Symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndrome: Sweating In Myocardial Infarction (SWIMI) Study Group. Clinical cardiology. 2015 Dec 1.
    4. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051122183817.htm
    5. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20051115/sweating-prompts-heart-attack-care#1
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting answer. My educated guess would have been that blood transfers heat and this heat transfer is regulated with the speed of blood flow. So if the heart is not strong enough, then the heat transfer is not sufficient and the body overheats which results in excess sweating. $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ @inf3rno Sweating in this case is not because of temperature regulation. It is more of a side effect. The sympathetic effects on heart in MI is very well studied. Look up remodelling of the cardiac muscles. $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2017 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Can you add some references about this to your answer? $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 5:50
  • $\begingroup$ @inf3rno Added. $\endgroup$ Commented May 30, 2017 at 9:09

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