We sought to determine the prevalence and nature of sweating disturbances in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), and investigated their correlation with other clinical features and with Quality of Life (QoL) measures. A questionnaire on symptoms and consequences of sweating dysfunction was completed by 77 consecutive outpatients, from three movement disorder clinics, and 40 controls. QoL was assessed using the disease-specific Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire (PDQ)-39 and generic EuroQoL (EQ)-5D rating scales. Patients also underwent a clinical examination, including assessment with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and the Hoehn and Yahr staging system. Sweating disturbances, either hypohidrosis or in particular, hyperhidrosis, were reported by 64% of patients and by 12.5% of controls (P < 0.005) and were often localised or asymmetric. Complaints of sweating disturbances were not correlated with disease severity, but did correlate with other symptoms of autonomic dysfunction. Sweating problems occurred predominantly in off periods and in on periods with dyskinesias. Sweating disturbances were not correlated with overall QoL scores, but we did observe a significant correlation with the pain dimension of the PDQ-39 and the visual analogue scale of the EQ-5D. Furthermore, many patients reported physical, social, and emotional impairment due to sweating. Sweating disturbances are common and distressing symptoms of PD that are related mainly to autonomic dysfunction, off periods, and dyskinesias.
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