What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is the name given to excessive sweating.
What causes of hyperhidrosis?
Sweating is a normal physiological response to heat; we sweat in order to cool down and as a consequence body temperature is reduced. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for regulating body temperature, in primary hyperhidrosis it is thought that this is either overactive (this means that the body produces more sweat than is needed to cool down), or there is a problem with the signalling from the brain to the eccrine sweat glands. This means that the brain sends signals to the eccrine sweat glands to produce sweat - even when the body does not need to cool down.
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis?
The signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis include:
Focal hyperhidrosis: excessive sweating of the hands, feet, armpits, face or head. Both sides of the body are affected equally (e.g. both feet, both hands)
Secondary hyperhidrosis: sweating may occur in the night, it affects a larger portion of the body (not just the hands, feet, armpits face and head)
Types of hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis may be either:
- Primary focal: primary hyperhidrosis occurs due to a problem with the sympathetic nervous system. It occurs alone and is not secondary to another medical condition. Primary hyperhidrosis typically affects:
- Under arms
- Secondary generalised: secondary hyperhidrosis occurs due to an underlying medical condition or as a side effect to medication. Unlike primary hyperhidrosis, secondary hyperhidrosis affects a larger proportion of the body, and sweating also occurs in the night when sleeping. Common conditions that may cause hyperhidrosis include:
- Heart failure
- Over-active thyroid
- Rheumatoid arthritis
How is hyperhidrosis diagnosed?
If you have excessive sweating of the feet your podiatrist can help. They can diagnose and give advice on the best treatment for you.
What would podiatry for hyperhidrosis involve?
Your podiatrist will begin by taking a thorough medical and social history; they will then assess and examine both feet. They will then make a diagnosis and design a treatment plan specific to you.
You cannon necessarily cure hyperhidrosis, but there are lot of treatments available that will minimise the symptoms, helping you to live a normal life without the worry of sweaty feet. Treatments for hyperhidrosis may include:
Hyperhidrosis is the name given to excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis can be either primary focal (this typically affects the hands, feet, face, head and under arms), or secondary generalised (affects more of the body and occurs secondary to an underlying medical condition or as a side effect to certain medications). You cannot cure hyperhidrosis but symptoms can be lessened. Visit your podiatrist who will be able to discuss these with you, and advise you on the best treatment for you.
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