When there is excessive sweating that is not associated with a situation that causes it is called hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis is the situation in which the human body sweats in an abnormal way.
It is natural to expect an increase in sweating on days of extreme heat or when performing physical activity. In hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating, however, is not triggered by these situations, but is constant.
Sweat is basically water. Only 1% of its components are salts. The body produces it in the sweat glands to regulate body temperature. It is the nervous system that orders, in normal situations, to sweat more or less.
Although it is all the skin that sweats, the disorder becomes more evident in the hands, feet and armpits. These regions, if the humidity is stored for a long time, can be infected generating odor by the decomposition of sweat through bacteria. That situation is called bromhidrosis.
It is estimated that 2% of the world’s population can be diagnosed with hyperhidrosis criteria. And it is common for the disorder to be familiar, finding parents and children, or siblings, with the same condition.
Causes of hyperhidrosis
Basically, hyperhidrosis can be attributed to two general causes: primary or idiopathic and secondary. The most common form of presentation responds to primary hyperhidrosis, that is, the one that is generated by itself.
The primary type is called essential focal hyperhidrosis . The problem is in the nerves that innervate the sweat glands. In these people, these nerves are hyperactive, stimulating sweat production all the time. While sweat is not associated with heat or exercise, it can increase with stress.
On the other hand, secondary causes of hyperhidrosis are varied. These are diseases that have increased sweating among their symptoms. Among them we have:
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism: Thyroid hormones, as regulators of metabolism, can affect sweat production.
Diabetes: in some people it is the excessive sweat of the trunk that arouses suspicions about the possibility of suffering from diabetes.
Ischemic coronary disease: in acute cardiac episodes, heavy sweating can be caused by the stimulus that pain generates on the sympathetic nervous system .
Systemic infectious symptoms: partly due to fever and partly due to the acceleration of the metabolism during an infection, the acute moment is usually accompanied by hyperhidrosis.
Neuropathies: specifically, diseases of the peripheral nerves and the sympathetic nervous system are capable of altering the innervation of the sweat glands.
Night sweat is one of the diagnostic criteria of hyperhidrosis.
Diagnostic criteria and symptoms
Any sweating that is perceived as excessive cannot be diagnosed as hyperhidrosis . The medical community has established some criteria that, if fulfilled, allow diagnosing the pathology .
The first unavoidable condition is that you suffer more than six months of heavy sweat without a direct explanation . That is, sweat generated without suffering heat episodes or after performing intense exercises.
In addition to that feature, at least two of the following circumstances must be added:
Affectation of daily activities.
Appearance of excessive sweat at least once a week.
Having suffered since before the age of twenty-five.
Having a family member with diagnosed hyperhidrosis.
The hands are one of the sites most affected by hyperhidrosis
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* Treatments for hyperhidrosis
Antiperspirants: this is the first measure taken among those suffering from hyperhidrosis. In general, it is usually a treatment established by the same patient before consulting the doctor. The component of the antiperspirants that works best is aluminum chloride. Adverse effects are dermal irritation, especially in people with sensitive skin.
* Drugs: Although there are medications to reduce sweating, they are not always indicated due to their adverse effects.
* Iontophoresis: the foundation of this technique is electricity. Through the electric current, it is possible to cancel the function of the sweat glands. The treatment requires a series of sessions to be effective and has no major adverse effects. The passage of current is controlled and in no way dangerous levels are reached for the body.
* Botulinum toxin: the substance is injected directly into the area most affected by hyperhidrosis to block the nerves that lead to the stimulation of sweating . It can be injected into the armpits, hands and feet.
* Surgery: the surgical procedure par excellence for those who require it is endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. It is reserved for cases of maximum severity where the quality of life is very affected or dermal infections are very frequent due to the humidity generated. The procedure involves cutting a nerve in the sympathetic nervous system to stop the stimulation of the sweat glands.
* Sweat symmetrically : in both armpits , for example, at the same time.
Sweat during sleep hours on nights that are not hot.