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Research: Hyperhidrosis More Common, Severe, and Socially Crippling than Scientists Realized

A new research published in Archives of Dermatological Research shows that hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) is more prevalent, severe, and socially debilitating than previously reported.

We already knew this and you probably did, too, but having data reported in a medical journal both affirms and further empowers our advocacy work. This sort of news garners the attention of more healthcare providers (to make diagnosis and treatment a priority) and more treatment developers (to provide patients with additional options).

The research was conducted by Brickell Biotech and Burke Healthcare with collaboration from the International Hyperhidrosis Society, and hyperhidrosis community members like you!

As part of the study more than 8,000 people participated in an online survey regarding their experiences with excessive sweating.

The results show:

• Approximately 4.8% of the U.S. population, or 15.3 million Americans, live with severe excessive sweating.
• About 75% of those with excessive sweating say the condition has had negative impacts on their social life, sense of well-being, and emotional and mental health.
• Only about half of those (49%) suffering from hyperhidrosis have discussed their condition with a healthcare provider, either because they don’t realize excessive sweating is a medical condition or because they don’t believe that treatment options exist.
• 53% of those who do see a healthcare provider about their excessive sweating are not diagnosed!

Previous (2004) research had found that 2.8% of Americans experience hyperhidrosis. The new study results put that prevalence number much higher – at 4.8%.

Similar to other studies, the researchers found that excessive sweating causes major limitations in work and social relationships, physical and leisure activities, and impairments in emotional and mental health.

For example:

• 85% percent of respondents agreed that excessive sweating is embarrassing
• 71% reported that sweating caused anxiety
• 35% stated they sacrificed many important things in their lives because of excessive sweating.

“When you’re worried about hiding your sweating, you limit your experiences and you aren’t getting joy out of life,” says Sophia Wastler, a trailblazing entrepreneur (check out her Starz Programwho has been living with hyperhidrosis since she was in elementary school. Sophia has been a tireless advocate for the International Hyperhidrosis Society for nearly a decade -- fundraising, raising awareness, and attesting that effective hyperhidrosis treatment from a compassionate and knowledgeable physician, Dr David Pariser, changed her life. 

“The results of this study are significant because it shows that the number of people in the U.S. who are living with this debilitating condition is nearly double previous estimates,” says Patricia Walker, MD, PhD, President and Chief Scientific Officer, Brickell Biotech, and one of the authors of the study. "Not only is the prevalence much higher than previously thought, but there is a clear and urgent need for greater awareness of hyperhidrosis and its treatment options among medical professionals and those living with the condition.”

“People living with hyperhidrosis must not only live with its very visible symptoms but they also have to deal with the anxiety and social stigma associated with excessive sweating, which can be debilitating to their daily lives” says Lisa J. Pieretti, Co-Founder and Executive Director, of the International Hyperhidrosis Society.“It’s high time that the broader medical community learn more about hyperhidrosis so that they can properly diagnose it and then help their patients manage the symptoms.”

“People with excessive sweating should absolutely speak with their primary care doctor or a dermatologist about their condition; no one should suffer alone,” says David Pariser, MD, Co-Founder and Board Member of the IHHS and a beloved world-renowned expert in hyperhidrosis. “There’s a great deal of exciting research in hyperhidrosis treatment right now and I believe that patients will have more safe, effective and convenient treatment options available to them in the coming years.”

And that, my friends, is why we keep asking you to keep the faith, and to participate in research. Subscribe to our news blog and SweatHelp.org/research for updates about all the new treatments currently in development and ways you can be part of the renaissance in hyperhidrosis care and understanding.

Brickell Biotech is in the process of developing sofpironium bromide (an anticholinergic) as a novel, self-administered, topical hyperhidrosis therapy. Watch for our alerts when the next huge study opens!

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