Sweating is necessary to control body temperature during times of exercise and in warm/hot surroundings and is a normal response to a rise in temperature or anxiety. In about 1% of the population, this system is revved-up and works at a very high level, causing sweating to occur at inappropriate times, far in excess of the amount necessary to maintain normal body temperature. It can occur in many different areas of the body, and the condition is known as Hyperhidrosis, which means ‘excessive sweating’. It affects both sexes equally, and all races. Those with hyperhidrosis appear to have overactive sweat glands. The uncontrollable sweating can lead to significant discomfort, both physical and emotional. Millions of people exhibit symptoms of hyperhidrosis – including excessively sweaty palms, sweaty hands, armpits, feet or facial blushing.
When excessive sweating affects the hands, feet, and armpits, it’s called primary or focal hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis affects 2 – 3% of the population, yet less than 40% of patients with this condition seek medical advice. So primary focal hyperhidrosis is diagnosed more by the absence of other diseases, is chronic, lasting at least six months, may occasionally resolve spontaneously and usually shows at least two of the following characteristics:
If the sweating occurs as a result of another medical condition, it is called secondary hyperhidrosis. The sweating may be all over the body, or it may be in one area.