Hyperhidrosis – a sweaty mess

Hyperhidrosis – a sweaty mess

It is completely natural to sweat, when the body is active. However, if you are drenched in sweat, even when inactive, you might suffer from the disease ‘hyperhidrosis’.

Most people have tried sweating when exercising of when very nervous. However, some doesn’t only sweat during situations with anxiety or high pressure. If you often find yourself sitting with a washcloth in your hands or need to change clothes several times a day because you sweat too much, it might be due to the illness ‘hyperhidrosis.

The illness causes you to sweat excessively in specific areas of the body. For example, the palms and feet.

According to NHS, there are likely hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, who suffer from hyperhidrosis. However, despite the frequency of the disease and the naturalness of sweating, many experiences the disease as taboo.

“Hyperhidrosis isn’t a disease to openly talk about, because we view heavily sweating as embarrassing. Therefore, many will opt to ignore the disease, even though the sweating will make their daily lives difficult. It is therefore difficult to get a proper estimate of how many suffer from the disease”, says Michael Heidenheim, Chief Physician of Dermatology at Roskilde Hospital, according to netdokter.dk.


Natural cooling

Sweat glands are dispersed all over the body, however, some areas produce more sweat than others. For example, we tend to sweat more in the armpits, hands, and on the soles of our feet than our shins. This is because the sweat glands in the armpits are built to secrete more sweat, while our hands and feet simply have more glands than most other areas of the body.

We sweat because the body must regulate the liquid balance of the body, while cooling it down. It is a specific area of the brain called hypothalamus – often referred to as the reptilian brain – which regulates how much we sweat on our face, chest, and back. The rest of the body’s sweat glands are regulated by the limbic system. The limbic system is involved when it comes to feeling and memory – causing us to sweat when we feel anxious. On the other side, the reptilian brain regulates the body’s temperature, thus it causes us to sweat when we are too warm.

In reality, sweaty palms and feet are meant to strengthen our grip when using tools, but if you suffer from hyperhidrosis, the amount of sweat can be so extreme that it has the opposite effect. Meanwhile, the skin can tear if it is constantly covered in sweat. Hyperhidrosis can therefore seem like chronic eczema. However, even if you sweat five times more than normal, the smell isn’t any worse.


Difficult to diagnose

Not all general physicians are familiar with the disease. It is therefore necessary to get a referral to a dermatologist, if you suspect that you might suffer from hyperhidrosis.

“It is also difficult to diagnose, since we must be distinguished between heavy sweating and hyperhidrosis. It is therefore necessary to look at the patient’s “sweat history”, before we can conclude anything”, says Michael Heideinheim.


1. http://hyperhidrose.dk/generelt-om-hyperhidrose/ https://netdoktor.dk/hyperhidrosis_naar_kroppen_drypper_af_sved.htm
2. https://play.tv2.dk/programmer/nyheder/serier/tv-2-echo/isabella-sveder-fr…

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