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Hyperhidrosis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Definition

Hyperhidrosis is the condition characterized by abnormally increased perspiration, in excess of that required for regulation of body temperature. Some patients afflicted with the condition experience a distinct reduction in the quality of life. Sufferers feel at a loss of control because perspiration takes place independent of temperature and emotional state. A common complaint of patients is that they get nervous because they sweat and then sweat more because they are nervous. Other factors can also play a role. Certain foods & drinks, nicotine, caffeine, and smells can trigger a response. Sweating is embarrassing, it stains clothes, ruins romance, and complicates business and social interactions. Severe cases can have serious practical consequences as well. It will make it hard for people who suffer from it to hold a pen, grip a car steering wheel, or shake hands.

Causes

  1. Heredity: Excessive sweating especially on palms and the soles of feet may be due to inheritance from the family members.
  2. Food: Drinking hot beverages and those that contain caffeine or alcohol can make you sweat. Eating spicy foods can, too.
  3. Drugs: Drugs that can cause excessive sweating include some antipsychotic medications used to treat mental disorders, morphine and excess doses of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Analgesics, such as aspirin and acetaminophen also increase sweating.
  4. Tuberculosis: This chronic bacterial infection of the lungs affected more than 15,000 people in the United States. This may also cause high sweating during nights.
  5. Glucose control disorders may also responsible for hyperhidrosis.
  6. Obesity: Otherwise health may also cause high sweating.

Symptoms

  1. High degree sweating in your palm and soles of your feet.
  2. Tremors in the hands, fingers, forearm, or foot tend to occur when the limb is at rest but not when performing tasks. Tremor may occur in the mouth and chin as well.
  3. Poor balance is due to the impairment or loss of the reflexes that adjust posture in order to maintain balance. Falls are common in people with hyperhidrosis.
  4. The most common symptom of hyperhidrosis is abnormally excessive perspiration during exercise or in hot weather.
  5. Hyperhidrosis sweat profusely from their underarms causing them to stain their clothes shortly after they dress.
  6. Sweating is often present during examination and sometimes is extreme.

Treatment

  1. Over-the-counter antiperspirants are usually tried first because they are readily available. Antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride may be more effective when other antiperspirants have failed.
  2. Oral medicines such as anticholinergics can be used. These helps a lot in reducing high sweating or hyperhidrosis.
  3. Food containing caffeine and theobromine should be avoided. Dietary restriction of coffee, tea, cola soft drinks, and chocolate may improve mild cases of hyperhidrosis.
  4. Low-dose topical radiation produces at least transient decrease in local sweat production and has been suggested as a treatment for hyperhidrosis.
  5. Surgery: Surgical treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis involves resection of the end organ or interruption of sympathetic innervation to autonomically innervated structures, including sweat glands.
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