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American Morning

Lot of Money Spent Trying to Control Perspiration

Aired June 25, 2002 - 08:38   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, summer is here. That means it is time to get hot and sweaty. Perspiration is not something that people usually like to talk about among friends. But a lot of money certainly is spent to try and control it. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here in New York to tell us if there is anything we should be concerned about.

Good to see you, pal. How are you?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you. I'm doing well.

Yes, sweat. Just call me and talk about sweat. It is something that we think about a lot, no question. And here is an amazing statistic, the average person in the United States sweats 278 gallons a year...

HEMMER: Really?

GUPTA: ... 278 gallons a year. And sweat actually has a lot of different functions, no question. It cools the body. It releases some antibacterials to fight off infections. And certainly, it's something that gets rid of some toxins within the body as well.

But for the most part, people don't want to really sweat too much. So we have a bunch of various things here. I just want to go through these quickly and tell you some of the options for people who don't want to sweat.

Certainly deodorants, we hear a lot about those. Those are all sorts of different varieties. And for the most part, they'll control about 30 percent of your body's sweat, which is enough for most people. That's all they really need is antiperspirant deodorants. Talcum powder as well. Sometimes a supplement to that may control some more sweat.

Now if you want to sort of move it up a little bit, you can actually go to medications. This is a medication known as Robinol, and this basically dries out your body. It's going to dry out your sweat. It's also going to make your mouth dry. It's going to do all sorts of different things. That's going to be a little bit more extreme obviously.

You want to get even more extreme, Hollywood's new favorite drug Botox is something that also controls sweat, in addition to headaches, in addition to...

HEMMER: Botox is finding its way into everything, isn't it? I think it's a marketing campaign.

GUPTA: But it seems to work. Botox appears to cut down on sweating as well, and about 1,000 bucks a treatment, but certainly people such as at the Oscars, people use that. People who are getting married soon, just absolutely want to stop sweating cold will try Botox. And also, even getting more drastic, electrical stimulation, actually stimulating the sweat glands in the armpits and things like that, half an hour a day for a few weeks will stop...

HEMMER: I had a guy who actually had sweat glands removed, because he felt he was over-perspiring. Have you ever heard of this as well?

GUPTA: I heard of that as well. And I heard of one step further, doing an operation going through the chest, cutting the nerves that supply the sweat glands. That's actually an operation just to stop sweating, a lot of drastic options out there for that.

HEMMER: If it is a bodily function that we all know, are there other dangers in stopping it? Before the break, we were talking about detecting the scent of your perspiration and linking it to diabetes and liver disease.

GUPTA: That's an important point actually, Bill. Sweat can be an important bodily function as we know. With regards to diabetes, it smells fruity, the sweat smells fruity, that could be an indication somebody has diabetes. If it smells like ammonia, that could be something suggesting liver disease. There really usually isn't a problem just stopping sweat, for the most, part under the arms or on the hands. That's a small percentage of the body area. The body will find other places to sweat, so usually not a problem to stop it that way.

HEMMER: You mentioned the medication. Is that common, number one? And are there any drawbacks to taking any of this stuff as you want to try and control, I guess, is the proper word I'm looking for.

GUPTA: This is the common stuff over here. This is what most people take. The medication certainly aren't as common. And the drawbacks really are -- in addition to stopping sweat, it is going to make your whole body dry out, give you a dry mouth. It's going to make you feel dehydrated. So there are some disadvantages to taking the medications.

HEMMER: Quickly. And I know This is not a topic you like to talk about at a quarter to 9:00 in the morning, when it comes to body odor, when it comes to BO, is there a direct correlation between BO and sweating?

GUPTA: There is, but not for the reasons that people think. Not surprisingly, the correlation really has to do with the bacteria on your skin that sort of mixes in with perspiration. This will make you choke on your cereal for sure. But yes, those two things... HEMMER: You told know ask, so I did, OK?

GUPTA: Absolutely.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I just think it's funny that these guys are being so mature and so -- well, what about BO, Dr. Gupta? And we're over here giggling.

HEMMER: That's because you're sitting next to, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: You can Spend $1,000 for a Botox treatment, or you can stick your finger in a wall outlet for 30 minutes a day and get virtually the same effect, is that the deal, doc? An electrical stimulation will stop this thing, too.

GUPTA: That's basically it, a lot cheaper as well, no question.

CAFFERTY: So tell me about the BO.

KAGAN: Parents are so proud.


HEMMER: Once those guys showed up, we will.

Actually, before Sanjay gets out of here, we have a list of the sweatiest cities in the nation, and Sanjay brought those along today.

Apparently we don't have it, but we know which cities are listed anyway.

GUPTA: San Antonio, Dallas, Ft. Worth, New Orleans, Houston, West Palm Beach, the sweatiest cities in America.

HEMMER: So a lot of these products are sold there.

GUPTA: But here's the least sweatiest cities in America as well. This is -- Daryn, you'll appreciate this, being from the West Coast. Up and down the West Coast, Seattle, San Francisco, L.A. and San Diego, and also Barrow, Alaska, the least sweatiest cities in America.

HEMMER; Must be the dry heat.

GUPTA: That's right.

HEMMER: Thanks, Sanjay. Good to see you here in New York. See you a bit later.