For some people, the body’s mechanism for cooling itself is overactive. It can be so overactive that they sweat five times more than is necessary. When sweating is this extreme it can be anxiety producing and disabling. It can have a disruptive effect on many aspects of a person’s life.
If you suffer from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) of your armpits, hands, feet, or face you may feel isolated and alone. But in fact you are not! There are millions of people worldwide that suffer the effects of excessive sweating, just like you. As a matter of fact hyperhidrosis afflicts approximately 3% of the world’s population but because of the lack of awareness, over half of these people are never diagnosed or treated. See how to get rid of hyperhidrosis naturally.
Why Is Perspiration Important?
Sweat or perspiration is necessary for an individual’s survival. It serves to protect the body from overheating. As sweat evaporates from the skin, heat is removed from the body.
There are between two and four million sweat glands that are distributed over the body. Most of these sweat glands are eccrine sweat glands. There are large numbers of eccrine glands on the axilla (armpits), palms, forehead, soles of the feet and cheeks.
The fluid secreted by eccrine glands is odorless and clear. It helps the body to cool down by promoting heat loss through evaporation from the skin. For the most part, sweat involved in hyperhidrosis is eccrine sweat.
What Makes Your Sweat Smell Bad?
The second type of sweat gland is an apocrine gland. Apocrine glands are concentrated in the axilla and genital regions of the body. Apocrine glands secrete a viscous fluid. As this fluid comes in contact with bacteria residing on the surface of the skin, a characteristic body odor is produced.
Eccrine and apocrine glands are activated by nerves of the sympathetic nervous system. These nerves are activated from a variety of triggers including, messages from the hypothalamus of the brain indicating that the body is overheating, hormones, emotions, and physical activity.
For people who suffer from excessive sweating, the sweat glands overreact to nervous system stimulus. This results in the production of more sweat than is necessary. It’s as if the sweat glands are stuck in the “on” position and won’t shut off.
There are two different types of hyperhidrosis. The first type is called primary focal or localized hyperhidrosis and the other type is called secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Having an understanding of the difference between the two is the first step in understanding hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that is not caused by an underlying medical condition or medication. This type of sweating occurs on specific areas of the body, or focal areas. It occurs on both sides of the body equally, thus it is symmetric. The most common areas of occurrence are the armpits, palms of hands, soles of feet, and face.
Primary hyperhidrosis usually begins in adolescence. People with primary hyperhidrosis have episodes of excessive sweating at least once a week and usually more often. It is rare for them to experience excessive sweating while sleeping. Hyperhidrosis is hereditary, and many members of the same family often suffer from this condition.
The second type of excessive sweating is called secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. It can be caused by some other medical condition and it can also be a side effect of some medications. Unlike primary hyperhidrosis, those with secondary hyperhidrosis sweat on larger areas of the body. Another big difference between the two is that people with secondary hyperhidrosis usually experience sweating symptoms while sleeping.