Hyperhidrosis is connected to depression and anxiety, report finds

6th September 2016 by Daryll Baker0
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Sweating is necessary to control the temperature of the body, particularly when the weather is hot and during exercise. Hyperhidrosis is the term used to define excessive sweating, whereby the nervous system works at a revved up level and causes an individual to suffer from extreme sweating.

Hyperhidrosis affects approximately one percent of the population, affects women and men equally, and all ethnicities.

Whilst in many cases, the causes of hyperhidrosis remain unknown and is believed to be caused by an issue related to the nervous system, the condition does have an identifiable cause known as secondary hyperhidrosis.

The NHS highlights some of the triggers that can result in secondary hyperhidrosis, which include pregnancy, the menopause, anxiety, certain medications, low blood sugar levels, an overactive thyroid gland, and certain infections.

Hyperhidrosis and depression and anxiety

A recent study has revealed there is a significant association between hyperhidrosis and the prevalence of depression and anxiety.

The study was compiled by researchers at dermatology clinics in Canada and China and was aimed at analysing the connection between hyperhidrosis and anxiety and depression.

The research analysed the responses of questionnaires completed by outpatients at the dermatology clinics. According to the study, patients suffering from the condition hyperhidrosis had a “significantly higher prevalence of anxiety and depression compared with those without hyperhidrosis.”

“Hyperhidrosis severity and prevalence of anxiety and depression showed positive correlations,” concluded the study.

Factors affecting the correlation between the excessive sweating condition highlighted by the report include age, ethnicity, gender, BMI and the diagnosis of skin conditions.

Bruce Thiel, a researcher involved in the study wrote:

“The results of our study showed that both anxiety and depression were much more common in patients with [hyperhidrosis] compared with those without [hyperhidrosis]… and that this positive association was common to all [hyperhidrosis] subtypes, especially generalised or facial [hyperhidrosis].”

“Assessment and management of anxiety and depression should be an essential component in management of patients with hyperhidrosis.,” continued Thiel.

How is hyperhidrosis treated?

This condition can be a challenge to treat and can take time and patience to find the right kind of treatment for the patient. It is generally recommended to begin with less invasive types of treatment, including making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding drinking alcohol and eating spicy food, to using powerful antiperspirants and wearing loose clothing.

In more severe cases, more invasive treatment might be recommended, such as botulinum toxin injections, iontophoresis, in which the affected areas are exposed to a weak electric current given through a wet pad or water and even surgery.

If you have any concerns related to hyperhidrosis or any kind of vascular condition, The Vascular Consultancy offers advice, diagnosis and treatments for a wide range of vascular-related conditions.


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Daryll Baker is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital London and Clinical Lead for North Central Region Vascular Services.

He read Medicine at Oxford University and trained in Vascular Surgery in Nottingham, London and Edinburgh. He obtained his research PhD from the University of Wales.

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