There are two types of hyperhidrosis. In primary focal hyperhidrosis, there is no underlying cause – the sweating itself is the condition. In secondary generalized hyperhidrosis, sweating is caused by another health condition or a medication.
Risk factors for primary focal hyperhidrosis
Age seems to be a factor for the onset of primary focal hyperhidrosis. In most people with primary focal hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating usually begins before age 25. In people with secondary hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating can begin at any age.
Studies indicate that between 30 and 65 percent of people with primary focal hyperhidrosis have another family member with excessive sweating. Since many people are too embarrassed to discuss sweating, even with a relative, many of those with hyperhidrosis may be unaware that the condition runs in their families and may be heritable. Research is ongoing to identify specific genes that may contribute to primary focal hyperhidrosis.
Which health conditions can cause secondary hyperhidrosis?
Excessive sweating can be a symptom of many health conditions. Conditions that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis include:
Which medications can cause secondary hyperhidrosis?
Many medications list excessive sweating as a potential side effect. Drugs that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis include:
Can hyperhidrosis be prevented?
Since we do not yet know what causes some people to develop hyperhidrosis, there is no certain way to avoid getting the condition. Some risk factors, such as genetic predisposition, are beyond anyone’s control.
Is hyperhidrosis contagious?
No. Hyperhidrosis is not contagious in any way.