Hyperhidrosis (Sweaty Palms)
Hyperhidrosis is a common condition in which a person sweats excessively.
What is Hyperhidrosis (Sweaty Palms)?
Hyperhidrosis means excessive sweating. It can be localised or affect the whole body. Sweating is controlled by the brain, which sends signals along nerves to the small sweat glands in the skin. Increased sweating is a normal response to a rise in body temperature, and to emotions such as anxiety.
Hyperhidrosis can also be idiopathic (no known cause), due to disease or irritated nerves, thyroid disorders, diabetes mellitus and occasionally as a side effect of certain medications such as antidepressants.
What causes Hyperhidrosis?
Sweating is the body's mechanism to cool itself. The nervous system automatically triggers sweat glands when your body temperature rises. Sweating also occurs, especially on your palms, when you're nervous.
Primary hyperhidrosis is caused by faulty nerve signals that trigger eccrine sweat glands to become overactive. It usually affects the palms, soles, underarms and sometimes the face. There is no medical cause for this type of hyperhidrosis. It can run in families.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by an underlying medical condition or by taking certain medications, such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and some diabetes and hormonal medications. This type of hyperhidrosis may cause sweating all over the body.
Conditions that might cause it include:
Menopause hot flashes
Some types of cancer
Nervous system disorders
How to treat Hyperhidrosis (Sweaty Palms)?
You can treat hyperhidrosis with a procedure called sympathectomy, which can be achieved with minimally invasive results.
Deep inside your chest, a structure called the sympathetic nerve chain runs up and down along your spine. It is the part of the nervous system responsible for the fight or flight response. During a sympathectomy, a surgeon cuts or clamps this nerve chain. This keeps nerve signals from passing through it. After a sympathectomy, the brain can't send signals to the involved areas to make them sweat, blush, or react to the cold as much. This permanent procedure is used as a last resort if other steps, such as antiperspirants or medicines, haven't worked.
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