Is Hyperhidrosis Dangerous?
A 2016 study indicates that the prevalence of hyperhidrosis in the US was 4.8% (approximately 15.3 million people). That is a fairly significant statistic when it comes to the U.S. population. But what exactly is hyperhidrosis, and is hyperhidrosis dangerous? In this blog, we will explore just that!
What Is Hyperhidrosis?
A hyperhidrosis patient sweats excessively, even when inactive or during low temperatures. The sweating may affect the whole of your body (generalized hyperhidrosis) or only certain areas (focal hyperhidrosis). Commonly affected areas include the armpits, palms of your hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), soles of your feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), face, chest, and groin.
Hyperhidrosis can be of two types – primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.
Can Hyperhidrosis Be Dangerous?
Hyperhidrosis on its own cannot be described as dangerous since it is not life-threatening. However, it can be a significant source of physical discomfort and stress, embarrassment, and emotional or psychological trauma. It is also capable of negatively impacting career options, activities during your free time, interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, and mental well-being.
Though sweating profusely has been linked with magnesium depletion in the body, no scientific evidence has successfully established that this portends danger for hyperhidrosis patients. On a happier note, a healthy, nutritional diet and the use of supplements can easily replace whatever magnesium quantities exit your body via excessive sweating.
While secondary hyperhidrosis is not as common as primary hyperhidrosis, it can sometimes be a symptom of potentially dangerous health problems such as obesity, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, certain types of cancer, and heart disease.
If not treated urgently, hyperhidrosis can degenerate into more serious complications, such as:
- Nail Infections
- Common nail infections induced by hyperhidrosis include fungal nail infections and athlete’s foot. Wearing socks and shoes in the presence of excessive sweating can stimulate the growth of fungi.
- Jock Itch
- It’s a groin fungal infection usually due to excessive sweating that leads to excess moisture in the affected area.
- These are minute, rough skin lumps caused by the human papillomavirus.
- Bacterial Infections
- Bacterial infections often occur around the hair follicles and between the toes.
- Body Odor
- Body odor is not a condition often associated with hyperhidrosis. The main reason for this is that hyperhidrosis doesn’t usually affect the apocrine sweat glands, which are responsible for the production of sweaty odor. However, body odor may arise if bacteria invade and break down the sweat. Also, alcohol consumption and the intake of spicy foods can produce odors in the sweat secreted from even the eccrine glands.
- Boils are swollen, reddish-yellow skin bumps that can emerge because of an infected hair follicle.
- Maceration is a condition characterized by the appearance of a wet, mushy texture on the skin as a result of constant moisture brought about by excessive sweating.
- Heat Rash
- These are small, reddish bumps on the skin that often generate an uncomfortable, itchy, prickling, or stinging sensation. Heat rashes occur due to a blockage of the sweat ducts, resulting in the trapping of perspiration under the skin.
- Psychological/Emotional Effects
- Hyperhidrosis may not be a death sentence, but it can have negative effects on the individual’s self-confidence, relationships, work, and social life as a whole. It can lead to unhappiness, anxiety, emotional stress, social withdrawal, and even depression.
Seeing a Hyperhidrosis Expert
It has been reported that nearly half of the people who suffer from hyperhidrosis don’t consult a doctor and that, on average, an individual with hyperhidrosis seeks medical attention after living with it for 9 years. This is worrying especially since quality treatment is available.
For those who decide to seek medical assistance, the approaches used by each medical expert may vary slightly. But a doctor may want to see if there are any secondary or underlying causes of the excessive sweating by carrying out some body fluid tests. He or she will also ask you some oral questions and/or provide you with a written questionnaire to answer. Some likely questions include:
● How often do you experience hyperhidrosis?
● Does excessive sweating make you think a lot?
● Which part(s) of the body does the excess sweating occur?
● Do you sweat excessively while asleep?
● Do you move about with towels, antiperspirants, pads, or any other thing that helps you cope with hyperhidrosis?
● Does excessive sweating influence your mental state or behavior in public?
● How has hyperhidrosis impacted your education, working life, and relationships?
● Has hyperhidrosis made someone stop befriending you?
● Do you experience body odor due to excessive sweating?
● How frequently do you bathe due to hyperhidrosis?
● Does excessive sweating make you change clothes frequently?
Treatment Options for Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis treatment is usually based on typology or the precise part of the body affected. The dermatologist or medical expert will usually probe into other factors, such as the individual’s overall health status, among others. Fortunately, a number of viable hyperhidrosis treatment options are presently available. Some of them are discussed below.
Many people use antiperspirants on a daily basis. Antiperspirants are considered the simplest way of dealing with excessive sweating. When used on the skin, an antiperspirant creates a plug that blocks the sweat glands from releasing perspiration (due to the aluminum chloride it contains). Many antiperspirants come with deodorants, which do not stop sweating but help check sweaty body odor.
Antiperspirants are the most widely used treatment for excessive sweating, but there are other effective medical alternatives. Some options you can try out (especially if antiperspirants are not giving you the desired results) include:
● Anticholinergic medications
● Surgical procedures (such as endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS)
The Center For Hyperhidrosis (CHH) Can Help
As noted earlier, hyperhidrosis may not be dangerous or life-threatening on its own, but it can make life significantly unpleasant for an individual. If you have tried all DIY palliatives without success, then it’s time to find your way to The Center for Hyperhidrosis (CHH) of the Columbia University Medical Center located in Manhattan and Pomona in New York as well as Englewood, New Jersey.
With over 30 years of professional practice and an efficient team that includes leading Board Certified thoracic surgeons and dermatologists, CHH is the top destination for all matters relating to hyperhidrosis. At CHH, you’ll have access to a broad range of treatment options, including those mentioned above.
Don’t allow the psychological, emotional, and physical effects of hyperhidrosis to weigh you down. You can take back your life from this unpleasant condition and start enjoying work, relationships, and other social activities once again. Your journey to total freedom from hyperhidrosis starts with a visit to the CHH.