Sweaty palms affect 1% of the population

Posted by : Mr. Sreehari Nair, 16 Dec 2013 12:27 PM
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Dr. Avinash N. Katara - Consultant, Minimal Access Surgeon

Sweating is an important bodily function that allows us to control our body temperature and keep it within the normal range. We all sweat as a normal response to different forms of stress (e.g. heat, exercise or emotional stress). However, some people sweat excessively or disproportionately to such stimulation. 

What causes sweaty palms?

‘Sweaty palms’ is a disposition, rather than a disease, of unknown cause and affects approximately 1% of the population. In 40% of those affected, there is a genetic predisposition. 

How does a sweaty palm affect health? 

Regardless of which part is affected, excessive sweating is a nuisance to those who suffer from it. Of these, palmar sweating is the most incapacitating. It has no serious threat to life. However, there are other emotional and physical disabilities arising from its nuisance. Patients are not only uncomfortable, but often socially and professionally embarrassed by it e.g. while shaking hands, writing, playing musical instruments, handling paper, painting, using electronics and computers etc. The problem usually begins in childhood and gradually progresses during the teens and adulthood.

What are treatment options for sweaty palms?

Several treatment options have been tried for sweaty palms viz. topical antiperspirants, oral medications, iontophoresis, botulinum toxin injection etc. These offer temporary or transient effects and most of them have problematic side effects when taken for long periods of time. Acupuncture, biofeedback, anti-anxiety medicines and various herbal remedies have been tried with limited or no success. 

Minimally Access Surgery has revolutionized the treatment of sweaty palms. Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) is a minimally invasive procedure that allows key-hole access to the sympathetic chain that lies deep within the chest. The sympathetic chain is selectively blocked where it sends out nerve branches to the sweat glands in the palm. Surgery offers immediate relief with the patient waking up from anesthesia with dry hands. The effect is usually permanent. Most patients are discharged the following day. The procedure is usually well accepted with good patient satisfaction and improved quality of life.  

Check out Dr. Katara's profile: http://www.hindujahospital.com/dr-avinash-n-katara

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