There are two distinct categories of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis in commonly believed to be a medical condition linked to a specific set of genetic traits that are passed from one or both parents to the offspring. The onset of primary hyperhidrosis in adolescence may last well into adulthood or it might subside through the normal stages of puberty.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating linked to an underlying primary medical condition such as thyroid disease, pituitary disorders, diabetes, and so on. The excessive sweating is a secondary side effect of the primary medical condition, hence the designation. Secondary hyperhidrosis can also be associated with drug-related reactions or allergies in addition to environmental factors such as infections and mercury poisoning.
In addition to the primary and secondary categories of hyperhidrosis, there are several sub-classifications that are used to describe the physical location where the excessive sweating occurs on the body, or focal areas. The most common sub-classifications are:
Axillary Hyperhidrosis (armpits)
Facial Hyperhidrosis (face).
Palmar Hyperhidrosis (hands)
Plantar Hyperhidrosis (feet)
Three less common sub-classifications of hyperhidrosis are also in general use to describe their particular traits:
Palmoplantar Hyperhidrosis: generally associated with emotional stress, and is usually localized in the palms or soles.
Gustatory Hyperhidrosis: an overreaction from eating hot or spicy foods or foods and beverages high in caffeine content.
Generalized Hyperhidrosis: triggered by conditions that would normally make you sweat except that you sweat profusely, i.e. during exertion or in hot, humid weather.
Of the four common sub-classifications of hyperhidrosis, two of them carry with them the additional symptom of body odor: Axillary and Plantar hyperhidrosis. Body odor occurs on protected areas of moist skin where naturally occurring odor-causing bacteria can flourish. The armpits are a natural haven for the bacteria, and feet, wrapped in damp socks shielded from air circulation by shoes, are the next best thing.