Sweating is the body’s natural way of regulating its temperature. And whilst we all perspire in certain situations – be it out of fear, embarrassment or exposure to the heat – this is very often completely normal and nothing to worry about.
Spare a thought, then, for those who have been diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, which is the medical term for excessive sweating. This distressing condition has been known to cause its sufferers tremendous anxiety and discomfort, especially as there are quite often no obvious triggers and it will occur seemingly at will.
Sweating may be involuntary, but most people are still largely aware of what can lead to episodes of perspiration. This includes things such as having a strong emotional response to a situation, eating spicy foods, engaging in heavy exercise or going through menopause. Where hyperhidrosis differs from conventional sweating is that it isn’t necessarily influenced by physical exertion or an internal reaction, but may just begin spontaneously.
Believed by some to be an inherited trait, hyperhidrosis currently affects up to 3% of the UK population. And, hereditary influences aside, there is quite often no root cause for this condition. Somewhat unhelpfully, hyperhidrosis is simply something that occurs due to the natural overactivity of the nerves that let the body know when it’s time to sweat. It can be localised to a specific area, such as the face, hands, feet or underarms, but may take place all over the body.
There are times where underlying medication conditions are responsible for excessive sweating. Cancer, heart disease, lung disease or Parkinson’s are examples of such illnesses.