Epidemiology of hyperhidrosis in 2 population-based health care databases

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Abstract

Background

Population-based and clinical case reports of hyperhidrosis (HH) provide prevalence estimates that vary widely across reported studies because of differences in case ascertainment.

Objective

In this study, we specify diagnostic, symptom, and prescription codes for HH to estimate incidence and prevalence for the United Kingdom and the United States.

Methods

Data from UK and US health care databases were analyzed to ascertain HH cases and estimate incidence and prevalence from health care records during calendar years 2011 through 2013.

Results

On the basis of 2013 data for the United States and United Kingdom, between 1.0% and 1.6% of these populations have health care records indicating diagnosis or treatment of HH. Women accounted for approximately 60% of incident and prevalent cases in both databases.

Limitations

Because the case ascertainment methods rely on available data for those seeking health care, we may have underestimated the number of HH cases in both countries.

Conclusions

The findings represent a plausible estimate for incidence and prevalence of HH among persons seeking medical care for excessive sweating. Improved practices for identifying HH in clinical settings may increase the sensitivity and specificity of future studies and improve characterization and quantification of the population burden of this significant disease.

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