As much of Canada continues to bake in the sun, it’s fair to say most Canadians are sweatier than usual.
But some people are dripping sweat no matter the situation, said Dr. Youwen Zhou, a dermatology professor at the University of British Columbia – even if they’re not hot, or nervous or in any of the usual sweat-inducing situations.
These people suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis, where they produce more sweat than is necessary to keep themselves cool. The Canadian Dermatology Association estimates around three per cent of Canadians, or about 950,000 people have hyperhidrosis.
“Patients affected by this condition could just be sweating for no reason when other people in the same environment, same conditions, do not,” said Zhou, who founded a hyperhidrosis speciality clinic at the Vancouver General Hospital.
While it’s not dangerous, it’s definitely unpleasant and many patients feel embarrassed, he said.
Many sufferers will avoid social situations that could involve shaking hands, for fear that someone will feel their clammy palms, he said. It can even limit career choices – it’s tough to use a keyboard or operate machinery with extremely sweaty hands.
Zhou acknowledges that there is a spectrum of sweatiness – some people hardly sweat at all, and some people sweat so much that they have difficulty in social situations, with most people somewhere in between.
But if you define hyperhidrosis as sweating so much that you feel your life is limited by sweating on half of all days, then about 10-15 per cent of the population reports suffering from the condition, according to his research. About five per cent could benefit from medical care, he thinks.
Dr. Anatoli Freiman, a certified dermatologist in Toronto, said that if people are sweating excessively, they should talk to their doctor. “It’s important to seek a doctor to make sure there’s no other reason for hyperhidrosis. A number of medical conditions, for example, thyroid disease, can cause hyperhidrosis. Some medications can do it. So it’s important that patients get evaluated to exclude other possibilities.”
Credit: Global News