Did you know about 1-5% of the world’s population suffers from excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis? Yes, it’s about 78 to 365 million people suffer from this condition, yet less than half of them actually seek help or talk about it due to embarrassment.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is an unusual excessive sweating condition that is not associated with environmental temperature or physical exercise. It happens when the nerves that stimulate the sweat gland to perspire become overactive. This type of sweating can happen even during the cold season or when the individuals are at rest.
Types of hyperhidrosis and area affected
This condition can be divided into 2 categories: primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis also called focal hyperhidrosis is usually local and inherited, in which about 35% to 55% show positive family history. The common areas for primary hyperhidrosis are where the eccrine glands are concentrated such as the axillary area (underarms), the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, and craniofacial regions.
On the contrary, secondary hyperhidrosis, also known as generalized hyperhidrosis, is usually associated with an underlying medical condition and causes excessive sweating of the entire body. This type of hyperhidrosis is not hereditable as it is normally the adverse effect of another medical condition.
Onset of hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis can develop at any age, albeit focal hyperhidrosis normally shows symptoms right after puberty, which is between 14 to 25 years old. It mainly affects adults younger than 40 years old and generally improves as they age.
On the contrary, generalized hyperhidrosis has an onset after 25 years of age and gets worse as they age and as the disease progress.
Causes of hyperhidrosis
The actual mechanism for focal hyperhidrosis remains unknown, however, it is thought that the combination of an overactive sweat gland and a lowered activation threshold may be the reason. Social stress, such as anxiety has often been identified as the trigger for the overactive sympathetic nervous system that controls the sweat glands.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is generally caused by underlying medical conditions. The examples are as below:
· diabetes mellitus,
· neurological conditions (e.g., Parkinson’s disease and stroke),
· infections (e.g., tuberculosis and sepsis)
· cancer (e.g., lymphoma, pheochromocytomas, adrenal and lung cancer)
However, not all patients with those medical conditions experience excessive sweating. For example, according to research by Klarskov, et. al., 11% of patients with diabetes experience gustatory sweating compared to 5% of controls. For menopause, night sweat occurs in 79 % and 65 % of women in the perimenopause and post-menopause, respectively.
Hyperhidrosis and its impact on life
People who suffer from hyperhidrosis may sweat heavily that the sweat drenches through their clothes or drips off their hands. Therefore, this condition can affect daily activities and create social anxiety. Hyperhidrosis can cause comorbid conditions such as skin infection, pruritus, and psoriasis. Furthermore, hyperhidrosis can modify the skin such as maceration on the soles of the feet, and paleness caused by discolouration, cracks, or wrinkles.
Besides, hyperhidrosis can lead to distinct body odour as the bacteria would metabolize more sweat into malodorous products. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS), approximately 5% of the world population (365 million) suffer from excessive sweating. However, only 38% of patients seek medical help due to embarrassment. Hyperhidrosis is considered the comorbidity of depression and anxiety.
In short, although hyperhidrosis is not life-threatening, it can affect the quality of life in several aspects such as relationships, work, and daily activities. Therefore, it is important to seek professional help and get treated as soon as possible. If you or your loved ones are suffering from hyperhidrosis, we recommend you visit our store and learn about our products!
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Keywords: Hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating, social anxiety, body odour
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