International Hyperhidrosis Society
 

Condition Overview

Hyperhidrosis (Hh, sometimes called “excessive sweating”) is a disorder of uncontrollable, extreme, episodic, unexpected sweating beyond what’s considered “normal” or is necessary to maintain thermal homeostasis or as a reaction to stress.[9]  Individuals with Hh may sweat four or five times more than “average.” [63

There are two main categories of Hh: Primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.[19]

Patients with Hh can have excessive sweating either over localized areas (called focal areas) or over the entire body (generalized).[19] Typically, primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis is focal in nature while secondary hyperhidrosis is more likely to manifest as generalized sweating. 

Focal areas commonly affected by primary Hh include:  the soles, palms, axillae, craniofacial region, groin, buttocks, or other distinct body regions. Combinations of focal areas are commonly seen.[2] For example, research shows that 81% of axillary hyperhidrosis sufferers indicate that they sweat excessively from three or more additional focal areas.[167] 

Based on data published in 2016, there are approximately 15.3 million individuals (or 4.8% of the population) living with hyperhidrosis (Hh) in the U.S. [162]  

This makes Hh more common than autism, melanoma, psoriasis, and peanut allergies.163-6

While primary Hh is a condition unto itself, secondary hyperhidrosis symptoms are due to one of a large number of underlying medical conditions, including endocrine disorders, neurological problems, use of certain drugs, cancer, chronic infections, dermatologic syndromes, and conditions associated with excess catecholamine discharge.[19] Occasionally, hyperhidrosis can be related to eating (gustatory sweating) or secondary to parotid surgery or diabetes.[83,111] Secondary Hh may also occur as a side effect of a medication. 

 

Additional References:

162. Doolittle J, Walker P, Mills T, Thurston J. Hyperhidrosis: an update on prevalence and severity in the United States. Archives of Dermatological Research. 2016;308(10):743-749. doi:10.1007/s00403-016-1697-9. 

163. Key statistics for melanoma skin cancer. American Cancer Society website. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Jan. 4, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2018.

164. How common is psoriasis worldwide? NEJM Journal Watch website. https://www.jwatch.org/jd201211090000002/2012/11/09/how-common-psoriasis-worldwide. Nov. 9, 2012. Accessed April 18, 2018.

165. Food allergy facts and statistics. Food Allergy Research & Education website. https://www.foodallergy.org/sites/default/files/migrated-files/file/facts-stats.pdf. Accessed April 18, 2018.

166. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Data & Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html. Feb. 12, 2018. Accessed April 19, 2018.

167. Glaser DA, Ballard AM, Hunt NL, Pieretti LJ, Pariser DM. Prevalence of Multifocal Primary Hyperhidrosis and Symptom Severity Over Time: Results of a Targeted Survey. Dermatol Surg. 2016 Dec;42(12):1347-1353. 

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