Research into the little-known but potentially debilitating condition of excessive sweating, known as hyperhidrosis, is being led by experts at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
Dr Louise Dunford, a senior lecturer in physiology at DMU whose research interests include dermatology, and DMU honorary senior lecturer Dr Anton Alexandroff, a consultant dermatologist, have set up a Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) which brings patients and healthcare professionals together to help develop the research.
They are currently making an appeal for people who suffer from the condition to come forward and share their thoughts on what research should be done about hyperhidrosis. This will help to plot a way forward to finding new treatments.
The main symptoms of hyperhidrosis are excess sweating, which can be all over the body, or limited to certain areas, most commonly the underarms, hands, feet and face.
It not only causes embarrassment for patients, mainly due to non-sufferers’ incorrect perceptions of the sweating being down to bad hygiene, but can also lead to depression, high anxiety and a fear of leaving the house.
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There are recorded cases of sweating in the hands being so bad that people are unable to pick up a pen, use a mouse or type with a keyboard and so cannot work in an office.
Dr Dunford said: “The first stage is to run a survey which will help us gather questions about the treatment and management of hyperhidrosis which members of the public would like future research to answer.
“So we are keen for anybody with hyperhidrosis, or their family or friends, to come forward.”
“It is a difficult condition for people to talk about because of the stigma attached to excessive sweating, but we are keen for them to tell us their views about which research they would like to see funded, as it is essential in helping us to potentially develop new treatments.”
One of the patients helping with the research, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “I was officially diagnosed with hyperhidrosis two and a half years ago. I had never heard of the condition before I was diagnosed with it.”
“It has affected my life greatly and continues to do so. I struggle with social anxiety and depression. I rarely go out to any social events and always feel paranoid, if I do go out, that people are judging and staring at me.”
“I currently take tablets which help control it but that is all they do. Getting research into the condition may well lead to more reliable forms of treatment with better levels of success.”
If you would like to help with the research you can find out more by visiting http://hyperhidrosis.our.dmu.ac.uk
The research group is also on Twitter @Hyperhidrosis2 and Facebook under Hyperhidrosis PSP
Posted on Friday 26th January 2018