What Cause Excess Sweating?

— Melissa


@Jared: Excess sweating (hyperhidrosis) is much more common in men than women. But, to make things even weirder, it seems that the genes that predispose to hyperhidrosis are those for both sexes; there’s a gene that causes excess body hair and another one that causes excessive sweating. And as you’ve probably guessed by now (since I’m answering this question), there’s no simple answer to your question about why men seem to sweat more than women do. There are many theories — some of them quite fascinating! The current thinking is that although genetics may play a role, the environment plays an equally important role in determining who gets sweaty palms or sweats profusely under exertion. We know from studies with identical twins who have different levels of asthma risk whether these differences are due solely to genetics or whether they’re also affected by environmental factors like diet or smoking habits. Work on this subject has been going on since the 1970s when researchers began comparing identical twins who had different genetic makeup with siblings whose genetic makeup was similar but did not match their twin’s profile for certain diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease. These results were confusing at first because there were some cases where the two sets of twins had surprisingly similar profiles for diseases regardless of their relatedness while other sets seemed radically dissimilar regardless how alike they were genetically! It took almost 20 years before researchers finally figured out what was really happening —

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