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Idiopathic hyperhidrosis: Is response to parasympathetic function test altered?

G S Latha, Nagaraja Puranik.


Background: Idiopathic hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating, especially of palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It is said to be owing to sympathetic overactivity. However, autonomic nervous system as a whole could be dysfunctional in this condition, rather than isolated sympathetic dysfunction.

Aims and Objective: We have undertaken this study to test and compare the autonomic function status in these patients with age- and sex-matched healthy individuals.

Materials and Methods: Twenty, normal subjects with no known autonomic dysfunction as controls and 20, known idiopathic hyperhidrosis patients as subjects were taken for this study. Autonomic function tests were performed in both these groups and the results were compared.

Result: Sympathetic function tests, which were performed, were within the normal range whereas parasympathetic tests were normal except for response to deep breathing test, which showed a significant increase (P < 0.01) in the hyperhidrosis patients, compared with the controls.

Conclusion: Response to deep breathing, a parasympathetic test, was significantly increased in the patients with hyperhidrosis compared with controls in this study; we will conclude this study with the findings that the idiopathic hyperhidrosis seems to be a complex dysfunction of autonomic nervous system, which involves autonomic pathways other than those related to excess sweating.

Key words: Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis; Parasympathetic Dysfunction; Sympathetic Overactivity

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