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May 25, 1994

Night Sweats: Two Other Causes

Author Affiliations

Sleep Disorders Center of Central Texas Austin

JAMA. 1994;271(20):1577. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510440037025

To the Editor.  —The Questions and Answers section of JAMA included an extensive differential diagnosis and suggested workup for night sweats by Smetana.1 Unfortunately, he failed to mention obstructive sleep apnea, one of the most common causes of heavy sweating at night.2 Other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include snoring, daytime fatigue or sleepiness, increased motor restlessness during sleep, morning dry mouth and headaches, nocturia, and decreased sexual drive. Apneic spells during sleep are frequently witnessed by spouse or other family members.Obstructive sleep apnea is quite common, occurring in up to 4% of middle-aged men.3 In any patient who has night sweats and snores, consideration should be given to obtaining a polysomnogram before launching into an extensive workup for systemic illness.

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