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Hyperhidrosis: Excessive Sweating

Hyperhidrosis: Excessive Sweating

Sweating is necessary for controlling body temperature during times of exercise and in warm/hot surroundings. Although neurologic, metabolic, and other systemic diseases can sometimes cause hyperhidrosis, most cases occur in people who are otherwise healthy. While there are no known causes of hyperhidrosis, heat and emotions may trigger hyperhidrosis in some people, but many who suffer from hyperhidrosis sweat nearly all their waking hours, regardless of their mood or the weather.

Hyperhidrosis is a normal response to a rise in temperature or anxiety. Sweating is regulated by the sympathetic nervous system. In about 1% of the population, this system is revved-up and works at a very high level, causing sweating to occur at inappropriate times, far in excess of the amount necessary to maintain normal body temperature. Hyperhidrosis is a skin condition that induces excessive sweating. It is a condition that usually begins in either childhood or adolescence. It affects both sexes equally, and all races.

Cases of primary hyperhidrosis can run in families, with 1 in 4 of all those affected having a close family relative who was (or is) affected by the condition. This would suggest that a genetic mutation is responsible. A genetic mutation is where the instructions that are carried in all living cells become scrambled in some way, which can disrupt the normal workings of the body. Some genetic mutations can be passed down from parents to their children.

There is no actual sweat measurement which can associate body weight with heat triggers, such as environmental temperature, exercise, etc. People know when they sweat excessively and it starts to have an effect on their social life or daily activities. Hyperdrosis symptoms and signs include:

  • Clammy or sweaty hands
  • Clammy or sweaty feet
  • Frequent sweating
  • Noticeable sweating that soaks through clothing
  • While changing your lifestyle and daily activities cannot cure primary hyperhidrosis, it can improve your symptoms and make you feel more self-confident. Avoid known triggers that make your sweating worse, such as spicy foods and alcohol. Use antiperspirant spray frequently, rather than deodorants. Wearing black or white clothing can also help to minimize the signs of sweating. Buy shoes that are made of leather, canvas or mesh, rather than synthetic material.

    There are many different treatments for hyperhidrosis available to people who suffer from excessive sweating. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with the possibilities you have to treat hyperhidrosis, and realize that it really is possible nowadays to stop your excessive sweating. You don’t have to accept this condition, you don’t have to wear several layers of shirts on top of each other or change your shirts several times a day, which are all common ways to cope with embarrassing sweating.

    Antiperspirants are the most common treatment for hyperhidrosis. Excessive sweating may be controlled with strong anti-perspirants, which plug the sweat ducts. Products containing 10% to 20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate are the first line of treatment for underarm sweating. Some patients may be be prescribed a product containing a higher dose of aluminum chloride, which is applied nightly onto the affected areas. Antiperspirants can cause skin irritation, and large doses of aluminum chloride can damage clothing. Note: Deodorants do not prevent sweating, but are helpful in reducing body odor.

    Treatment for hyperhidrosis often involves oral medication which can reduce sweat production off all sweat glands, rather than in just one area. However, when you take oral medication to reduce the excessive sweating, there are a lot of side effects such as impaired speech, heart palpitations, problems urinating, impaired sense of taste, impaired ability to chew and swallow a dry mouth and constipation. The most common kinds of drugs used to reduce sweating are anticholinergics, beta blockers and clonidine hyprochlorides.

    Surgery is another treatment option for hyperhidrosis. You may have seen several plastic surgeons advertising surgical procedures for excessive sweating. Surgery is only recommended for people suffering from a severe case of hyperhidrosis that haven’t responded to other treatments. During the surgical procedure, the surgeon may cut, scrape, or suction out the sweat glands. Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a common surgical procedure in which the surgeon makes small incisions and cuts the nerves in your armpit that activate the sweat glands. This procedure is very effective, but it’s used only as a last resort on people who have tried every other treatment.

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