What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a common condition characterised by high levels of sweating, affecting around 1 -3 % of the population. It affects both sexes and all races equally. It can cause both physical problems and psychological distress, and significantly affect quality of life.
Sweating is how the body regulates its temperature when it gets too hot. The sweat glands are triggered by heat, stress, anxiety, exercise, alcohol consumption or other medical conditions. The sweat glands are controlled by our nervous system. However in a person who has hyperhidrosis, the glands are not controlled, leading to excessive levels of sweat.
Causes of hyperhidrosis include:
- Consuming alcohol and drugs
- Other health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy and Cardiovascular disorder
The main symptom associated with hyperhidrosis is visible sweat and wet clothes. This can be noticed especially on the axillae area as well as chest and back. Palmar hyperhidrosis patients experience severe wet hands causing them to feel embarrassed and can interfere with their day to day life. Patients who suffer from hyperhidrosis may find it difficult to use keyboard or computer mouse due as to excessive sweating on the hands, they tend to also feel embarrassed to shake hands with a person and may affect work relationships.
Types of Hyperhidrosis
- Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis: The most common type affecting the underarm, palms, soles and scalp. Primary hyperhidrosis can start in childhood and during teenage years.
- Secondary Hyperhidrosis: Symptoms from other conditions such as stroke, brain tumor typically lead to secondary hyperhidrosis. This type targets specific parts of the body and happens more quickly than primary hyperhidrosis.
- Generalised Hyperhidrosis: Medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and drinking alcohol or caffeine may result in generalized hyperhidrosis and affects the entire body.