Hyperhidrosis involves excessive perspiration from the body, which can be triggered by factors, such as anxiety, foods, the consumption of other substances or other underlying medical conditions. The sweat produced does not have any smell; however people who suffer from this condition can produce up to ten times more sweat than an average person.
This condition occurs when the nerves that regulate sweating stop working correctly, with the hands, feet and armpits being particularly tend to be the most common affected areas. Other parts include the chest, face, head, back and groin.
The Three Types Of Hyperhidrosis
This disorder can occur in three different ways, all with their own unique causes:
1) Primary Focal – has no underlying cause and usually affects areas such as palms, scalp, underarms or soles. It can trigger at birth or during adolescence; however, it can appear at any age.
2) Secondary Focal – has instead a primary cause and involves excessive sweating of a particular area of the body. The causes that are usually associated with this condition are:
- Drugs, such as antidepressants and eye drops;
- Illnesses such as hypoglycaemia, obesity, carcinoid tumour, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, gout, heart disease and menopause;
- Infections, including Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, HIV and Malaria;
- Substance abuse and withdrawal (including alcohol);
- Respiratory breakdown.
3) Generalised – involves excessive perspiration of the entire body and is usually triggered by illnesses or drugs. The causes that are associated with this vein of the condition are:
- Sweating provoked by spicy food or alcoholic drinks;
- Spinal cord lesions, diabetic autonomic neuropathy, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral neuropathies, and spinal tumours;
- Intrathoracic neoplasms;
- Compensatory Hyperhidrosis (damage to the sympathetic trunk or diabetic neuropathy can cause absence of sweating in an area of the body, which in turn makes another part suffer from Hyperhidrosis).
What Are The Symptoms?
The main symptoms of this affliction are:
- Night Sweats;
- Generalised sweating (at least once a week);
- Unilateral or asymmetrical sweating (at least once a week);
- Weight loss;
This condition is likely to develop before you turn twenty-five years of age and the likelihood of it developing is further increased if your family history is inclusive of your relatives having suffered from excessive sweating. Furthermore, if you have experienced the symptoms for over six months, then it is very likely that this disorder directly affects you and you may want to consider having treatment if the condition persists.
Who Is Affected By This Condition?
According to the UK National Health Service, around 2/3% of the population suffer from excessive sweating and it seems to be three times more common in women than in men. The most affected are young adults, which has been generally attributed towards a disposition for nutritionally-poor foods, as well as the frequent consumption of alcohol.