Knowledge: Around one million people in Germany suffer from hyperhidrosis. What do we know about profuse sweating?

Living beings that have water cooling based on the principle of evaporation form a manageable group.

Knowledge: Around one million people in Germany suffer from hyperhidrosis. What do we know about profuse sweating?

Living beings that have water cooling based on the principle of evaporation form a manageable group. Horses, zebras and camels are among them, as well as other monkeys besides us humans. Cats and dogs lack the ability to sweat; in many predators, the remaining sweat glands on the paw or paw serve only to set scent marks.

While we experienced a record number of hours of sunshine in 2022, our relationship at least to the scent of cooling perspiration is divided: the dog proudly stamps it on the field, its owner dampens the aroma and moisture with the deodorant can. This also works, unless you are afflicted with hyperhidrosis. Like many evils in the medical vocabulary, this one also has a Greek name, which, however, designates nothing more complex than the overzealousness of the sweat glands.

The palms of the hands, soles of the feet and armpits are particularly affected, in whose sphere of influence sweat stains can reach an immense extent, a serious agony for those affected.

But what makes the slightly salty water that the sweat glands secrete flow so strongly? The pure amount is not the measure for it - at the right time, i.e. in great heat, every adult and healthy person can secrete liters of sweat over the course of the day. There is therefore no simple measurement value for diagnosing hyperhidrosis. The wrong timing, on the other hand, is the main symptom: "Occurrence of sweating independent of temperature, unpredictable and not volitionally controllable" says the guideline of the responsible medical societies. She divides the condition into three degrees of severity. In the most serious, grade III, the sweat spots reach a diameter of more than 20 centimeters and, clinical texts are very direct, the "sweat drips off".

Unfortunately, those who are affected in this way, starting in childhood or adolescence, often experience discrimination and soon realize that home remedies are not enough. The symptoms are not caused by too many or too large glands, but by overactivity of the nerves that control them. These can be dampened with medication, but sweat glands can also be removed or shut down with botulinum toxin (botox for short). The right amount of treatment can be easily regulated thanks to medical advice, and the normal cooling function of sweating is retained.

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