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- Hyperhidrosis involves excessive sweating due to overactive sweat glands.
- Sweat glands are found over the entire body, with the highest concentration in the palms and soles. Controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, sweat glands help regulate body temperature. Sweat glands on the palms and soles are activated primarily by emotional stress.
- Hyperhidrosis can occur on its own or be associated with other diseases, including hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, pheochromocytoma, acromegaly, Parkinson’s disease, head injury, spinal cord injury, hypothalamic tumors, and menopause.
- Essential hyperhidrosis primarily causes excessive sweating of the palms.
- Mild cases are treated medically with antiperspirants or other astringents that constrict tissues and block sweat, or with anticholinergic medications, such as atropine, that block nerve impulses that cause sweating.
- A variety of surgical techniques that interrupt nerve impulses that cause sweating are options in severe cases that do not respond to medical treatment.
- Surgery provides complete relief in more than 80 percent of patients and significant relief in 95 percent.
- Techniques used include anterior thoracic, thoracic endoscopy, percutaneous radiofrequency and supraclavicular.
- The risk of significant complications is 5 percent. Potential complications include introduction of air into the chest cavity that could cause lung collapse, nerve pain, spinal cord injury and Horner's syndrome, which encompasses a range of symptoms including drooping eyelids, impaired vision and absence of facial sweating.