The hyperhidrosis is a medical condition on which a person has a profuse sweating and in an unpredictable way. The people with hyperhidrosis can sweat even if the temperature is fresh or being at rest. Sweating is something normal and necessary, the problem emerges when a person starts to sweat in excess and frequently. Perspiration helps the body to remain fresh; people tend to sweat at hot environmental temperatures, when they make exercise or in response to situations that cause nervousness or stress.
About one percent of the population is affected by this condition which basically consists in an excess of work of the sympathetic nervous system which stimulates sweating glands producing an excessive perspiration on hands, feet, face, armpits and on the whole body. Thus, people affected by hyperhidrosis tend to have very active sweating glands, however an excessive sweating can become into a significant annoyance, at a physical levels as well as for the emotional level.
When excessive perspiration affects hands, armpits and feet it is catalogued as hyperhidrosis of primary order and affects to two or three percent of the population, although less than forty percent of patients affected by that condition look for medical assistance. In the majority of the cases of primary hyperhidrosis the cause cannot be identified with precision, and it is a condition that usually affects many members of the same family.
If sweating occurs as a result or consequence of other medical condition, it is known as secondary hyperhidrosis, in this case perspiration can affect the whole body or can localized on one specific area. Some of the affections that can be the source for such a condition are:
- Anxiety conditions;
- Disorders on the control of glucose;
- Carcinoid syndrome;
- The intake of certain medications or the abuse of substances;
- Lungs disease;
- Heart diseases;
- Parkinson disease;
- Psychiatric alterations;
- Tuberculosis or some other infections.
Visible signs of the condition are noticeable during the visit to a doctor, and there are also some tests that can be done to diagnose excessive sweating, these can be:
- Test of iodine-starch: a solution of iodine is applied to the area which is presenting excessive perspiration and when it gets dry starch powder is spread over that area. The combination of iodine and starch can make any part that presents sweating to turn into a dark bluish color;
- Test of paper: a special piece of paper in the affected area to absorb perspiration and after that its weight is measured. As heavier it is, a bigger amount of sweat would be accumulated.
You should see a doctor in the following cases:
- Prolonged, excessive and unexplained sweating;
- Sweating accompanied of pain or pressure on chest;
- Sweating with weight loss;
- Presence of sweating with more frequency during sleep time;
- Sweating accompanied of fever, weight loss, chest pain, difficulty for breathing or heart bits strong and fast.