July 28, 2004 ST. LOUIS -- Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, affects a much larger proportion of the U.S. population than previously reported, according to new research.
Dee Anna Glaser, M.D., professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University, said that an estimated 7.8 million people in the United States suffer from hyperhidrosis.
"I was a little surprised at the high percentage of those affected," she said. Glaser conducted a national survey of 150,000 households to determine the prevalence of hyperhidrosis in the United States population and assess the impact of sweating on those affected by axillary hyperhidrosis. Results will be published July 28 in the August issue of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
People suffering from hyperhidrosis experience excessive sweating on the underarms, palms of hands, soles of feet and the face, to name a few places. Cold, wet handshakes, soiled or damaged shirts, papers and shoes are just some of the symptoms of hyperhidrosis. Anxiety and stress often accompany hyperhidrosis, as well.
"The results suggest that in axillary hyperhidrosis, sweating often impedes normal daily activities and can result in occupational, emotional, psychological, social and physical impairment in a substantial proportion of individuals," Glaser said.
Prior to this survey, there was very little research available regarding the prevalence or impact of hyperhidrosis.
The findings include:
* Hyperhidrosis affects a much larger proportion of the U.S. population than previously reported. An estimated 7.8 million individuals, or 2.8 percent of the population, have hyperhidrosis.
* Of this population, 50.8 percent (4.0 million) have axillary hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating of the underarms.
* The prevalence rates were significantly higher among people 25-64, which is the prime working-age population.
* Females are far more likely to discuss their condition with a health care professional (47.5 percent of women versus 28.6 percent of men.)
"This condition is a not a mild nuisance experienced by a few people," Glaser said. "This is a big problem for many people."
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