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Sweating Condition Causes Higher Risk of Skin Infections

Posted: May 12, 2009

Hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes people to sweat excessively, may be a factor in the development of skin infections, and skin care professionals should be on the lookout for clients who may suffer from this condition.

People with the excessive sweating condition known as hyperhidrosis already have to deal with a number of life-inhibiting social issues. Sweaty palms or unsightly underarm stains can make simple tasks such as shaking hands or raising an arm extremely embarrassing.

According to a new study, people with primary hyperhidrosis also have a higher risk of developing skin infections. Fortunately for those with the condition, appropriate treatment by a dermatologist can control these issues. Dermatologist Hobart W. Walling, MD, PhD, FAAD, who maintains a private practice in Coralville, IA, has found that primary hyperhidrosis patients are more prone to skin infections than those without the condition.

Hyperhidrosis is categorized as either primary (not caused by a separate medical condition or medication) or secondary (caused by an underlying medical condition or medication). Primary hyperhidrosis affects nearly 3% of the U.S. population. Symptoms of primary hyperhidrosis include excessive sweating that lasts at least six months with at least two of the following additional characteristics: affects both sides of the body equally, occurs at least once weekly, begins at age 25 or younger, ceases during sleep, and has other family members with the condition.

Dr. Walling and a team of researchers collected medical records for 387 patients who had visited the University of Iowa Department of Dermatology and were diagnosed with primary hyperhidrosis. They also collected records for 410 age- and gender-matched patients who visited the same dermatology department during the same time period and were diagnosed with an unrelated condition.