Martin M. Kimamo is an unrelenting Hyperhidrosis Activist. He’s the Founder and CEO of Hyperhidrosis Awareness Kenya Ltd. On 12th January 2018 he decided to share his struggles with hyperhidrosis to empower and encourage others to live and explore their life’s full potential.
- WHO WE ARE
- UNDERSTANDING HYPERHIDROSIS
- CHILDREN LIVING WITH HYPERHIDROSIS
- HYPERHIDROSIS IN THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
- GENETIC HYPERHIDROSIS
- HYPERHIDROSIS AND SOCIAL LIFE
- COMING SOON
Hyperhidrosis is defined, as a condition where individuals sweat more than what is necessary to properly cool the body and regulate temperature. Also defined as excessive sweating dis- order.The process of sweat production is controlled partly by the bodies sympathetic nervous Hyperhidrosis is NOT a cosmetic problem, a weather-related problem, a hormone problem, an anxiety problem, a weight problem, an exercise problem, a drug problem, or a personality problem…It’s a common, medical, serious, life-damaging, under-recognized and under-cared-for problem.
Being a stigma and a condition that people are not aware of, that is why Hyperhidrosis Awareness Kenya Ltd was registered as a Nonprofit Company under the Companies Act (No.17 of 2015) Laws of Kenya to raise awareness in Kenya and largely in Africa on this CNS Disorder
Understanding the two types of hyperhidrosis and the difference between the two is vital towards hyperhidrosis treatments. The number of patients/ persons living with hyperhidrosis who send HAK LTD inbox messages and emails from different African states always express the difficulties they encounter with hyperhidrosis and insist on a “cure” for excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis (primary focal hyperhidrosis) has no cure but can be managed through treatment unlike secondary generalized hyperhidrosis that’s secondary to underlying factor hence once the underlying factor is managed the sweating goes away..
In Kenya hyperhidrosis still remains unreported and untreated only a few have knowledge of it as a medical condition while a vast majority have no access to hyperhidrosis content and other sweat related content as a result a majority consult the wrong doctors for treatment leading to a severe case of misdiagnosis. It doesn’t end there it extends all the way to the family unit a patient/person living with excessive sweating is surrounded by people who don’t understand excessive sweating and it’s impact on the quality of life.
If it’s tough on adults how about kids?
Excessive sweating can be detrimental in children as well. Children are hyper active and always engage in-group play activities from pre-school, kindergarten all the way to their pre-teen and teenage hood. These activities involve a lot of engagement and bodily contact such us holding hands and forming a circle etc. The following can help you evaluate whether your child’s may have hyperhidrosis:
• Your child sweats when the temperature is not hot and he/she is not physically active • A Specific/target/focal area sweats severely (hands, head and face, feet, armpits). • The regular antiperspirants applied are not providing satisfactory results.
NOTE: Hyperhidrosis typically emerges between the ages 11-17 and in some cases may manifest as early as age 6-7 or at infancy. If coping mechanisms aren’t enough to manage excessive consult a dermatologist that has handled or has experience working with hyperhidrosis cases
To help your child manage their excessive sweating develop a sweat sheet to keep track of their sweat patterns from mild – excessive – extreme. This helps in detailing and identifying factors or circumstances that trigger their sweat the triggers may include stress, anxiety, weather, public speaking or doing a presentation, an exercise etc. The more the sweat sheet data entry the better the ways of addressing, identifying and managing the causing factors.
Talking to your child about their excessive sweating is highly advised. Understand that living with excessive sweating is a daily struggle and the social psychological stigma associated with it is detrimental. Have a one on one conversation in a different environment and let them explain their situation to you especially how excessive sweating makes them feel just listen to understand and not to reply. You’ll be surprised maybe your child gets bullied or they’re depressed due to hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis in Kenya
Africans have a culture of not speaking out about medical issues. For many years people living with rare diseases have walked alone and forgotten. With focus and emphasis on major terminal illnesses little or no awareness is done to sensitize the community on the rare diseases that many struggle with and in total silence and isolation. Hyperhidrosis is no different hence many Africans out there are struggling with excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) and other sweat related diseases with no knowledge of Hyperhidrosis as a medical condition that can be managed through treatments.
A number of reasons have made hyperhidrosis to remain unnoticed, catered for, reported or talked about. Besides the government’s relevant bodies and health care providers not putting much emphasis on educating the masses on excessive sweating African myths surrounding excessive sweating continue to taunt persons living with the condition from bewitching, to touching or exposed to a reptile at a young age or simply being afraid “fear of the unknown” some of the myths are ridiculers but it’s alarming when a huge number of patients are struggling with only a small percentage having knowledge of the condition including the 2 types of hyperhidrosis while a vast majority don’t know and don’t have access. Hyperhidrosis is not a cosmetic problem, a weather related problem, hormonal problem, and anxiety problem hyperhidrosis is a medical condition.
Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is not heritable however primary focal hyperhidrosis is inclined by a person’s genetic makeup. Primary focal hyperhidrosis usually begins between the ages of 14 and 25, but it can begin earlier. People with it experience excessive sweating due to overactive sweat glands on both sides of the body that affects specific (focal/target/localized) areas like the hands, feet, armpits, and face. It is a lifelong condition and it can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life.
HYPERHIDROSIS AND SOCIAL LIFE
Although hyperhidrosis may not be life threatening or cause physical death there’s the slow death characterized by social psychological trauma that comes with it. This tends to impact the quality of life from social, professional to relationships. They’re not antisocial; you wouldn’t understand what they go through on daily basis.
A romantic gesture such as holding hands feels uncomfortable. It can control some aspects of your life for instance there are certain type of shoes or clothes you cannot wear (sandals or clothes that are light colored) to making sure you have napkins / underarm pads to place under your armpits and to wipe sweat off your hands. Hiding under layers of clothing to avoiding big crowds and social situations because that can make you nervous.
Hyperhidrosis can also affect your work life and career choice. Only few can peruse engineering courses, secretarial work that involves a lot of paper work or in the service industry. Careers that require human interactions can be complicated for persons living with hyperhidrosis. As HAK LTD we encourage persons living with Hyperhidrosis to go after their purpose and experience their full potential. Yes living with hyperhidrosis is tough giving up is living a life of regrets and what could have been.
Let’s talk about Sweat Podcast
Hyperhidrosis as a medical condition is hardly understood by many. The sentiments expressed are simply “just sweat” hence many cannot fathom that it can control some aspects of your life this is in relation to persons living with it.
Voice of the patient is a podcast by HAK for persons living with hyperhidrosis and other sweat related diseases. We encourage them to share about their experiences as hyperhidrosis patients and challenges they face especially with the lack of awareness how the social stigma continues to impact their lives. #myhhStory
We raise Awareness on Hyperhidrosis (excessive Sweating), educate the masses and offer solutions on managing Hyperhidrosis in our daily lives.
Our Mission Activated!
Restore Hope and Confidence of persons living with Hyperhidrosis.
Meet Our Team
We work together with a professional team to enhance the awareness of this disorder in order to improve the lives of the people affected.
Ann Wamaitha Gakaria is the Executive Director of the Hyperhidrosis Awareness Kenya Ltd (HAK Ltd). As Executive Director, Ann is responsible for establishing the mission and execution of the initiatives that support the goals of the organization. Top priorities include promoting awareness of hyperhidrosis through interaction with clients/patients who visit health facility.