Health

How to Tell When Your Sweaty Hands and Feet Are Actually a Problem

Keep going. Sweating is normal. Everybody sweats. Some people sweat more than others and at times that are not the best. Like when you’ve just been called into a meeting with your boss, and suddenly you’ve got sweaty hands so slick you can’t turn the doorknob. Or you go to shake a new colleague’s hand, only to realize your palm is dripping.

It is possible for sweat to be beneficial. The body uses sweat to cool itself and keep our body temperature in a healthy range—somewhere between 97 and 99 degrees, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It’s also possible that sweating could help clear the body of toxins (though some experts disagree with this claim),1Keep bacteria in balance2Keep your skin hydrated.3But more research is needed on all points. In other words, we need sweat to keep us healthy, but excessive sweating—especially the kind that feels out of control or causes skin issues—might actually be a medical condition.

The name hyperhidrosis may be new to you, but if you have it, you know something’s up. Hyperhidrosis sufferers sweat a lot. “In some people, it may be as high as four to five times the normal level of sweat,” Marlyanne Pol-Rodriguez, MDDr., a dermatologist and expert in hyperhidrosis. Stanford Health CareSELF is told by a spokesperson that millions of people suffer from this condition. In fact, it’s estimated that 3% of the U.S. population sweats excessively, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Ahead we’ll explore what actually constitutes a sweaty hand problem, and tips on how to keep your palms and feet feeling fresh and dry.

How can you tell if your sweaty hands and feet are “normal” or overkill?

The sweat glands in the hands and feet are more dense than any other area of the body. It could be that your body’s biology is causing these areas to sweat more than other parts. There are many things that can cause sweat to increase, including anxiety, stress, heat, and exercise. Imagine you have to give a presentation at work, and you notice your hands are sweating—maybe the paper you’re holding gets damp. That’s within the realm of normal.

There’s not a super firm line about when sweaty hands go from an annoyance to a condition. The two biggest factors are how often you sweat and how it affects your daily life. “The simplest definition of hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that is beyond what would be expected from whatever the trigger of the sweating is,” Dr. Pol-Rodriguez explains. Basically, for someone with hyperhidrosis, the same triggers—stress, heat, exercise—cause a whole lot More sweat.

Imagine losing your grip on a steering column while driving, or sliding across a tile flooring barefoot. The sweating with hyperhidrosis is severe enough that it “impairs your normal activities,” S. Max Vale, MD, a dermatologist at UW MedicineTell SELF. That could mean that sweat is visible even when you’re not exerting yourself—something a doctor will be checking for. The skin may feel softer or more peeled due to the excess moisture. Frequent issues with skin infections like athlete’s foot can even become a problem.

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What causes sweaty hands or feet?

For some people, the cause of excess sweatiness is a health condition—like menopause or diabetes—or it could even be the side effect of a medication. That’s called secondary hyperhidrosis. (Worth noting: Some people believe that high blood pressure can cause sweating, but that’s a myth, according to the American Heart Association. High blood pressure rarely causes symptoms. 

Primary hyperhidrosis is a condition that affects many people. There is no known cause. We know that the problem is not with the sweat glands. They’re not bigger or more plentiful; rather, something is causing them to be hyperactive, Joyce Fox, MD, a clinical dermatology professor at the University of Southern CaliforniaAttainment and practitioner Cedars-SinaiSELF is told by.

Source: Slef

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