What is Hyperhidrosis?

February 6, 2016

Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a common disorder which produces a lot of unhappiness. An estimated 2-3% of Americans suffer from excessive sweating of the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis) or of the palms and soles of the feet (palmoplantar hyperhidrosis). Underarm problems tend to start in late adolescence, while palm and sole sweating often begins earlier, around the age 13 (on the average). Untreated, these problems may continue throughout life.

Sweating is embarrassing, it stains clothes, ruins romance, and complicates business and social interactions. Severe cases can have serious practical consequences as well, making it hard for people who suffer from it to hold a pen, grip a car steering wheel, or shake hands.

If you just sweat more than other people when it’s hot or you’re exerting yourself, that’s not usually a sign of trouble. Sweating is a normal reaction when your body’s working harder and needs to cool itself down.

Hyperhidrosis doesn’t usually pose a serious threat to your health, but it can sometimes lead to physical and emotional problems.

Excessive sweating increases the risk of developing fungal infections, particularly on the feet – most commonly fungal nail infections and athlete’s foot. The emotional impact of living with hyperhidrosis can be severe. Many people with the condition feel unhappy and, in some cases, depressed.

Through a systematic evaluation of causes and triggers of hyperhidrosis, followed by a judicious, stepwise approach to hyperhidrosis treatment, many people with this annoying disorder can sometimes achieve good results and improved quality of life.

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