What You Need to Know About Sweaty Palms

Have you ever met someone whose hands are always sweaty, no matter the weather? As a student, you may have watched their struggle with damaged books and defective pens caused by excess sweat from their palms while writing, which piqued your interest in their predicament. This widespread condition is known as sweaty palms, but it is medically referred to as palmar hyperhidrosis.

Despite its frequency, palmer hyperhidrosis is often overlooked, leaving those affected with no idea what it is all about.

A study found that palmar hyperhidrosis affects 1-3% of the general population, equally affecting both sexes. It often appears throughout childhood or adolescence.

Without further ado, here’s all you should know about palmar hyperhidrosis.

What is palmar hyperhidrosis?

Palmar hyperhidrosis is a medical disease in which a person sweats excessively and inconsistently from their hands.

This disorder occurs when an individual sweats more than the body need to maintain temperature.

Sweating is a natural process that keeps the body cool. People sweat more in warm weather, when they exercise, or in situations that make them frightened, angry, ashamed, or afraid.

However, patients with palmar hyperhidrosis may sweat at rest, in cold temperatures, or at random moments when sweating is not expected.

What causes palmar hyperhidrosis?

Palmar hyperhidrosis is the result of hyperactive sweat glands.

When the body becomes too heated, the eccrine glands, or sweat glands, produce perspiration to cool it down. However, if one has palmar hyperhidrosis, the eccrine glands activate and generate sweat more often than when the body is overheated.

However, there are other causes which include:

  • Genetic factor: A study has found that genetics may play a role in the development of palmar hyperhidrosis. That means people who have a family history of palmar hyperhidrosis are at risk of having the condition.
  • Emotional causes: Stress, anxiety, and fear can cause palmar hyperhidrosis. These strong emotions can lead to the spontaneous release of sweat. The sweating may continue until the emotion is eased.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, may influence sweat production and contribute to this condition.
  • Medical conditions: Certain underlying health issues may be associated with palmar hyperhidrosis according to research. Medical conditions include obesity, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Overdose of certain drugs and alcohol intake can also cause palmar conditions. Drugs like insulin can disrupt hormone levels or cause nerve hypersensitivity.

What are the symptoms of palmar hyperhidrosis?

Some common symptoms of palmar hyperhidrosis include:

  • Excessively sweating of hands
  • Hands that are cold to the touch
  • Pale or blush coloring of the hands
  • Sweating in the hands from everyday tasks such as writing or holding
  • Abrupt onset of sweating episodes
  • Fear of situations that require hand contact
  • Swelling of the fingers

How is palmar hyperhidrosis treated?

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for patients with this condition — ranging from topical to surgical, depending on its severity.

These treatments include:

  • Antiperspirants: Antiperspirants can be applied to the palms to reduce sweat production.
  • Anticholinergics: These medications block the chemical signals that stimulate sweat glands, reducing sweat production.
  • Botox: Botulinum toxin injections can temporarily block nerve signals to the sweat glands by releasing acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, to reduce the amount of sweat the glands in the palms produce.
  • Iontophoresis: Iontophoresis involves the use of a device that delivers a low electrical current to the palms to block the sweat gland activity.
  • Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS): In severe cases, surgical procedures such as ETS may be considered as a last resort. ETS is a minimally invasive procedure that is done to permanently disrupt the nerves that stimulate sweat production.

Palmar hyperhidrosis negatively impacts sufferers’ lives. As a result, seeking medical attention for accurate diagnosis and treatment is critical to improving quality of life.

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