Bringing to light a condition
Living with hyperhidrosis isn’t easy for anyone. The social anxiety around shaking hands, taking shoes off and other day to day activities makes this condition an embarrassing one for many.
In this weeks news however, the world got a little insight into what it’s like for people with hyperhidrosis.
The island cluster of Malta lies just south of Italy and north of Libya. If you’ve never heard about it before, that’s because it’s small, very small. With a population of around 450,000, it’s one of the smallest and most densely populated areas in the world.
In the lead up to the June 3rd Maltese elections, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and leader of the opposition, Simon Busuttil, have been ruthless in their campaigning. The gloves have been off.
During a televised debate on Friday, Muscat fired off a comment that struck a chord for Busuttil, and many people suffering from hyperhidrosis.
Busuttil is a “chicken” with “sweaty hands”, claimed Muscat.
To add insult to injury, Muscat justified his comments by stating that Busuttil had made a comment about his body language. He followed up his justification saying that he was unaware of such a condition.
And therein lies the problem with hyperhidrosis; it’s the silent handicap. Most people with hyperhidrosis don’t talk about their condition because they may be embarrassed, or don’t even know the condition exists; much the same way Muscat claimed he was unaware of it.
Around 15.3 million Americans alone are affected by this condition and it’s not just Americans. On average globally 9% of people between the ages 18 and 35 suffer from hyperhidrosis. This figure goes up in places like Japan where the figure sits at 12.8%.
That’s a lot of people not talking about something that seriously affects their lives. This condition is no laughing matter, and certainly not something to poke fun at. Far too many people live with the secondary effects of the condition too. They can include social phobias, depression and other self esteem issues.
Busuttil didn’t deserve to be ridiculed in public for his condition, and neither does anyone else who suffers from the condition. Moreover, no one deserves to suffer in silence. Like all conditions, it’s important to speak out against shaming, develop a community and raise awareness so that people know they are supported and that they are not alone.
For more information on hyperhidrosis, take a look at some of these articles: