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Sweaty Swedes seek help overseas

Sweaty Swedes seek help overseas

Published: 10 Jun 2012 10:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Jun 2012 10:19 GMT+02:00

Thousands of Swedes suffering from over-active sweat glands are being forced to seek help in other EU countries as Swedish healthcare authorities refuse to fund treatment, according to a report in the Svenska Dagbladet daily.

According to European Economic Area (EEA) regulations, citizens are allowed to seek care in any of the participating countries (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) if refused in their home country.

Many patients are forced to do so each year as local Swedish health authorities decline to treat them for excessive sweating, a sickness known as hyperhidrosis and which affects around three percent of the Swedish population.

Hyperhidrosis is often a localized condition with the hands, feet, armpits and groin typically affected areas, although the ailment may hit any part of the body.

If the symptoms do not respond to non-prescription medicines then treatment is by injecting botox into the sweat glands.

Botox treatment is not offered by all health authorities and in Stockholm for example the treatment is offered only for sweaty hands, as this is deemed to be the affliction which carries the greatest hardship for the patient in question.

If sweating therefore becomes extensive and thus more expensive to treat, many local health authorities, such as Stockholm, pull the plug on funding.

As perspiring patients are then obliged to seek solace overseas, clinics are forced to throw away substantial quantities of medicine.

The sweat clinic at Sophiahemmet hospital in Stockholm is for example reported to have thrown away some 350,000 kronor ($49,000) in medicines during the month of May alone.

Popular destinations outside of Sweden to seek help for what for many can be considered a debilitating and embarrassing condition, include Oslo and Copenhagen, according to the Svenska Dagbladet report.

When seeking care in another EEA country, patients are liable to pay only the local fee for treatment, which in the case of Norway equates to around 350 kronor.

Under Swedish regulations the bill for this care is then sent to the Social Insurance Agency (Forsäkringskassan) and not to local health authorities.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:56 June 10, 2012 by notaswed
so it is, if Sweden wouldnt fund it seek for solution else where. I cannot see the justification in not treating these patients simply because it cost to do so, however govt allocates funding for other comparatively non-crucial activities. Its a shear misplace of priorities from what must be funded and what musnt.
16:40 June 10, 2012 by Abe L
It being costly really can't be an argument seeing how much money the Swedish government wastes on completely irrelevant topics. I do believe this should be funded as it's extremely disgusting for everyone around such people, they will often also be limited in their career options if the condition is really bad.

This is one of those topics where I think most people would be happy their tax-money made a brief contribution to the state of people suffering from such a condition. Unlike many other topics.
19:20 June 10, 2012 by leontan
This is the kind of centralized decision making that gives one the impression that in some ways, Sweden is somewhat backwards. If Sweden can fund gender reassignment, why can't it fund help for these poor people? It's not as if the government isn't taxing everyone to the hilt and has no money to do this.
20:37 June 10, 2012 by DAVID T
I think it's only right that my hard earned tax money is used to pay for jobless lazy immigrants rather than health care for Swedes.
11:36 June 11, 2012 by robban70226
maybe they should try taking a bath / shower more often, Swedish people are not the cleanest people in the word, something against a shower and soap in their culture?
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