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Hyperhidrosis


Overview :

Sweating is the body's way of cooling itself and is a normal response to a hot environment or intense exercise. However, excessive sweating unrelated to these conditions can be a problem for some people. Those with constantly moist hands may feel uncomfortable shaking hands or touching, while others with sweaty armpits and feet may have to contend with the unpleasant odor that results from the bacterial breakdown of sweat and cellular debris (bromhidrosis). People with hyperhidrosis often must change their clothes at least once a day, and their shoes can be ruined by the excess moisture. Hyperhidrosis may also contribute to such skin diseases as athlete's foot (tinea pedis) and contact dermatitis.

In addition to excessive sweat production, the texture and color of the skin itself may be affected by hyperhidrosis. The skin may turn pink or bluish white. Severe hyperhidrosis of the soles of the feet may produce cracks, fissures, and scaling of the skin.

Hyperhidrosis in general and axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in the armpits) in particular are more common in the general population than was previously thought. A group of dermatologists in Virginia reported in 2004 that 2.8% of the United States population, or about 7.8 million persons, have hyperhidrosis. Of this group, slightly more than half (4 million persons) have axillary hyperhidrosis. One-third of the latter group, or about 1.3 million persons, find that the condition significantly interferes with daily activities and is barely tolerable. Only 38%, however, had ever discussed their excessive sweating with their doctor.




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