Saturday, 26 April 2008

Stop Underarm Sweat

By Jed Elaine

Underarms are an interesting region in our body. Many refer to it colloquially as gross while others are attracted to it in a sexy way. They even have a term for that - axillism. They're ticklish too, so they can be a source of play-fun when in the mood especially with children. But seriously, underarms are by nature vulnerable and prone to problems.

At puberty, the underarm areas become loaded with hair follicles and sweat glands. The functions that hair and sweat serve are subtle but complex. Both basic types of sweat glands (Eccrine and Apocrine) are present and the hair works in partnership with sweat to provide protection and defense mechanism against knocks, bruises and overheating.

The basic functions of Underarm Sweat are cooling and lubrication. When sweat evaporates from the underarms, the process absorbs heat from the surrounding area thereby reducing the temperature. In wetting the surface between the arms and the body during locomotion, underarm sweat reduces the friction generated from the inherent rubbing. A component of underarm sweat (aprocrine) in conjunction with hair follicles is also secreted when the person is under stress, anxiety or duress. This type of sweat has a milky appearance and a foul odor develops when it comes into contact with bacteria.

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The generation of Underarm Sweat is thus normal and necessary when it's in good working order. It's only a problem when there's excessive (Axillary Hyperhidrosis) or inadequate (Axillary Anhydrosis) underarm sweat. Between the two extremes, Axillary Anhydrosis is far more serious as apart from the resultant discomfort, it is also potentially life-threatening.

Excessive Underarm Sweat is a lot more common and affects millions of Americans. It is estimated that 1% of people has this condition in varying degrees. It can be quite mild and some sufferers are actually oblivious to their problem with underarm sweat. On the other hand, it can also be quite serious, especially when it's accompanied by excessive sweat in other parts of the body like the hands (Palmar), feet (Plantar) and face (Facial).

There are two categories of Excessive Underarm Sweat. The first category is Primary Axillary Hyperhidrosis and the second one is Secondary Hyperhidrosis. The former is direct and straightforward in both effect and treatment while the latter is as depicted by name related to another underlying medical problem. Having that said, it's not necessarily sticky as when the root cause such as diabetes, thyroid and so forth is eradicated, the associated Secondary Excessive Underarm Sweat will recede in tandem.

So, underarm sweat is not a curse. Ask those Anhydrosis sufferers and they will come out in cheers for underarm sweat. Actually, underarm sweat hardly ever becomes a problem for those who practice good hygiene, exercise and eat right. This alone will go a long way in mitigating the problem even for those who are genuinely afflicted through bad genetics.

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