Hyperhidrosis: An Understanding of Excessive Sweating
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel that you sweat more than normal?
- Have the underarms of your shirt been drenched with sweat?
- Have your hands become so slick with perspiration that you’re unable to perform everyday activities such as driving or using your phone?
If being excessively sweaty has affected you in any of these ways, know that you are not alone. Along with countless others across the country and around the globe, you may have a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Affecting approximately 7.8 million individuals within the United States alone, hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized by excessive sweating in one or multiple parts of the body including:
- Face and head/facial blushing
- Underarms (axillary)
- Hands (palmar)
- Feet (plantar)
In addition to the physical limitations that may arise, sweating in excess can have a psychological impact, making you anxious or unwilling to interact with others on a social or professional level. Moreover, irritating skin conditions may develop as a result of an abnormal amount of sweat gathering on the body, such as fungal overgrowth, infections and disintegration of the skin itself.
What are the causes of this condition?
When you sweat normally, your sympathetic nervous system triggers your sweat glands in order to cool the body down (thermoregulation). With hyperhidrosis, these nerves become hyperactive, calling for more perspiration than needed. When coupled with stress or exercising they can actually worsen.
How is hyperhidrosis categorized?
Primary focal hyperhidrosis
Named for its occurrence on a very specific area of the body, this type is not caused by a medical condition nor is it a side effect from medications you may be taking. It often begins during the childhood years and can affect the hands, feet and underarms as well as the head and face.
While those with primary focal hyperhidrosis have episodes of excessive sweating at least once a week, they do not experience excessive sweating while sleeping. It has also been shown that primary focal hyperhidrosis is a genetic condition and may be inherited.
If you feel that you sweat excessively or that you may have hyperhidrosis, contact one of our specialists today.