Research Insights

Sweating dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease

Movement Disorders

Swinn L, Schrag A, Viswanathan R, Bloem BR, Lees A, Quinn N. (2003) Sweating dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease Movement Disorders, Dec;18(12):1459-63

These authors briefly discuss possible autonomic dysfunction seen in PD. Specifically they looked at sweating dysfunction, also known as hyperhidrosis. They looked at 77 patients with PD (mean age: 62.8, 51 males and 26 females, disease duration 12.3 years) and 40 age matched controls. As there are few measures to evaluate sweating, these authors relied upon each person’s report of sweating and other general medical difficulties. Patients with PD reported more difficulties with sweating as compared to controls. Sweating dysfunction was not related to disease duration, severity, or medications. The authors also found that sweating dysfunction was also related to hypotension (low blood pressure), constipation, and sialorrhea (excessive salivation). There are a few limitations of this study including variable measures of ON versus OFF state, relying only on subjective measures of sweating, constipation, and sialorrhea, and not controlling for medication peak dosages. The exact mechanism of sweating dysfunction and other autonomic difficulties in PD is not known but these authors suggest further research as well as clinicians should focus on sweating in patients with PD.

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