Hyperhidrosis has affected approximately 15.3 million Americans since 2016. This condition is characterized by excessive sweating, bringing about the difficulty of maintaining a normal life for a person affected by it. This condition is not due to temperature fluctuations or external stimuli, which is the case for people with normal sweating.
Primary it is a classification of this condition that is influenced by genetics. The disease mainly affects adults of 18 to 39 years of age.
Just like any other condition, it inevitably poses challenges to the one who suffers from it. People with hyperhidrosis may experience difficulty in their social, professional, and personal life. Their emotional and mental health may also suffer.
To better understand hyperhidrosis, this blog will shed light on its origins and life impacts.
The role of sweating in our lives
Despite being a nuisance sometimes, sweating is an essential body-regulating process that dictates the body’s necessary functionalities. Diaphoresis or perspiration, in medical terms, regulates the body by responding to emotional stress, maintaining the body’s temperature, and assisting in metabolism.
During hot days, you may not like the feeling of being sticky and your clothes being wet due to the sweat. But, sweating is what actually makes you alive and well during extreme temperatures.
When your body temperature is going high, sweating is a way of releasing this accumulated heat. Otherwise, your body will stay at a higher temperature than average, which can be dangerous.
The sweat glands
There are two types of sweat glands in the body: the apocrine glands and the eccrine glands. These glands start to form at the third month of fetal development.
Apocrine glands are found in specific areas of the body. They can be in the pubic area, armpits, and the ear canal.
The sweat from these glands is secreted along with proteins, steroids, pheromones, and other chemicals. If you would notice, these areas of the body are where distinct odors originate. This odor is the result of bacteria-producing urea that is mixed with sweat.
On the other hand, eccrine glands are found throughout the body. They are in charge of regulating body temperature through the release of fluids.
The types of hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is either localized or systemic. These categories rely on the distribution of sweat in the body. Localized hyperhidrosis affects some parts of the body, while systemic hyperhidrosis refers to sweating of the entire body.
Moreover, there are two principal diagnoses of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis is usually focal or localized. Until now, the main reason why this condition occurs is unknown. However, it is suspected that the combination of an exaggerated response to sweating and a lowered threshold to the process makes this condition happen.
On the other hand, secondary hyperhidrosis has a more defined origin. This condition usually happens due to malignancies, medications, endocrine disturbances, and other central nervous system issues.
Who is affected by hyperhidrosis?
In 2016, there were around 4.8% of Americans reported having primary hyperhidrosis. However, this condition is often underdiagnosed and underreported, so the actual rates may still be higher.
As mentioned, younger people are more affected by this condition. Consequently, infants can already be suffering from this condition since their eccrine glands are already fully functional.
Moreover, gender does not appear to be different in terms of incidence rates of hyperhidrosis. But men are more likely to experience hyperhidrosis in the facial or head area. At the same time, women are more affected in their armpit area.
Studies also found that race can be a factor in the occurrence of primary hyperhidrosis. Researchers reported that Japanese-American patients showed a higher prevalence of hyperhidrosis that affects the soles and palms.
What it’s like living with hyperhidrosis
Despite their Hippocratic oath, some healthcare professionals undermine the unpleasant experiences of patients with hyperhidrosis. What might seem like a regular daily activity for a healthy individual can be difficult for someone with it.
For example, because of excessive sweating, they have to shower multiple times a day, change their clothes a lot, open doors with difficulty, and the constant feeling of depression and anxiety haunts them daily.
The negative impacts of hyperhidrosis in patients living with it have been well-documented in research. Almost one-third of affected patients report that they are “constantly or frequently bothered” with the sweating. Other studies also found that 40% of the patients experience physical discomfort.
Sweating may be mild to dripping, but undoubtedly, the occurrence of excessive sweating totally impairs one’s daily activities. In India, a study showed that 38% of hyperhidrosis-affected students in their early twenties experience the condition’s “bothersome” to “extremely bothersome” symptoms. In the US, almost 75% of the participants with hyperhidrosis reported that their condition has negatively impacted their social life and mental and emotional health.
Moreover, eighty percent of employees with hyperhidrosis also reported that they had reduced effectiveness at work. Up to 86% experience moderate to severe emotional impact brought by the disease.
The impacts of hyperhidrosis have been heavily studied in the field of health numerous times. Research has found out that the condition’s negative effects lead to a lower quality of life (QOL) of the affected individuals.
Hyperhidrosis and its effects on physical health
In addition to the effects of this condition on the quality of life of the affected individual, hyperhidrosis obviously takes a toll on the person’s physical health. Constant subjection to moisture due to sweating may lead to skin maceration or the wrinkling of the skin. Skin maceration is the one you experience on your toes and fingers when you take a swim for too many hours. Therefore, skin maceration leads to an increased risk of other skin conditions, such as athlete’s foot, bacterial infections, or pitted keratolysis.
A study by Lenefsky and Rice (2018) revealed that individuals with hyperhidrosis have a 30% increased risk of getting skin infections than people with a normal sweating condition.
With all the evidence presented regarding how hyperhidrosis affects the quality of life of affected individuals, we must consider the weight of their condition instead of burying it as something unimportant. Fortunately for people with hyperhidrosis, you do not have to worry about excessive sweating anytime soon.
At Vital Aesthetics, you can get an FDA-approved hyperhidrosis treatment that uses Botox to impair the nerves responsible for your excessive sweating. The hyperhidrosis treatment has been studied to reduce underarm sweating by 82% to 87%, with visible results as early as four days from the treatment. Say goodbye to excessive sweating; say hello to Botulinum toxin!