Sweaty Palm: A Sign of Sickness

Sweaty Palm: A Sign of Sickness

Sweaty palms are not an uncommon condition if it happens from time to time and the sweats are not drippy.  But if the sweating is excessive, it can impact your quality of life, and you need to see a specialist as soon as possible for a remedy.

Many people believe that sweaty palms are a sign of heart disease, whose symptoms include chest pain radiating to the neck or left arm, shortness of breath, palpitation or fainting.  It is important that you understand these conditions and know how to handle them properly.

What is Sweaty Palms Condition?   

Sweaty palms, or Palmar Hyperhidrosis, are a condition in which a person sweats excessively specially in the palms.  It is one of the hyperhidrosis conditions that can occur in a specific area of the body, from head, underarms, palms, to feet.  In some cases, a patient can experience sweating in palms and feet together, or in palms as well as underarms and foot, etc.  This condition can be found in all age and gender groups.  It does not have any correlation with temperature, time of day, or exercise; but it does impact a person’s daily life.

What Causes Sweaty Palms?

There are 2 factors causing sweaty palms:

  1. External Factor:  Normally it is a side effect from other conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, thyrotoxicosis, or pregnancy. It can also be due to some medications that induce excessive sweating.
  2. Internal Factor: This is when autonomic nervous system that regulates sweat glands on the palms work abnormally and become overactive. This can cause excessive sweating in the palms.  

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Symptoms of Sweaty Palms

  • Both palms are sweaty.
  • Not associated with weather, exercise or exertion.
  • Occurs at least once a week.
  • Anxiety, stress, uneasiness. 
  • Palms do not sweat during sleep.
  • Family history of sweaty palms

How Severe and Harmful Is Sweaty Palms Condition?

Sweaty palms condition can vary from mild to severe.  Excessive sweating can feel stuffy and itchy. With excessive scratching, it can cause skin infection.  Moreover, the condition may impact a person’s confidence and ultimately leads to mental health issues.  Those who work in engineering and electronics fields, in particular, must be careful and protect themselves from dangerous situations because of sweaty palms.

How to Diagnose Sweaty Palms?

The doctor will check your health history and order physical examinations that include blood test and chest X-ray.  This is to determine whether the root cause is from abnormal autonomic nervous system or a side effect from a congenital disease, in order to prescribe a proper treatment.  

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How to Treat Sweaty Palms?

  1. Oral Medication using medicines from anticholinergic group to help reduce sweating in the body.   This must be under a doctor’s direction as there may be side effects, such as blurry vision, dry mouth, dry eyes, and constipation, etc.
  2. Ointment using medication with aluminum chloride ingredient which is an antiperspirant to help reduce excessive sweating.  The patient has to strictly follow the doctor’s advice; and if there is any allergic reaction, the patient must seek the doctor’s advice promptly.
  3. Injection. Botulinum Toxin can help control sweaty palms, and the injection must be repeated every 6 months.
  4. Thoracoscopic Sympathectomy. This is the best way to help completely cure sweaty palms.

How Thoracoscopic Sympathectomy Works?

Thoracic sympathectomy is a surgery to permanently treat sweaty palms. The surgeon will make a 1-cm incision each through the patient’s chest around both underarms, to cut the abnormal sympathetic chain nerves. It takes only 1-night stay at the hospital before the patient can return home.  The result is immediate.  After the surgery the patient’s palms will remain dry.  The only side effect is the compensatory hyperhidrosis, resulting in sweating around the torso or thighs depending on the patient’s physique.

Sweaty Palm Specialist

Asst. Prof. Dr. Sira Laohathai, Thoracic Surgeon specializing in Thoracoscopic Sympathectomy, Bangkok Heart Hospital 

Hospital Specializing in Sweaty Palms

Bangkok Heart Hospital is ready to take care of your sweaty palms condition with our multidisciplinary team of experts consisting of experienced doctors, nurses and other professionals, to help you regain your quality of life.