Rubio’s Sweating is Topic of Trump Jokes, Could Be Due to Not-So-Funny Medical Condition

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has landed in hot water after repeatedly pointing out fellow candidate Marco Rubio’s tendency to sweat.

Image: Gage Skidmore
Image: Gage Skidmore

Reports place the tally of remarks made by Trump at about a dozen, starting last fall. He took some time at a rally in Norcross, Ga. to point out Rubio’s perspiration.

“They said to Marco Rubio ‘Are you having fun?’ He’s sweating like a pig,” Trump said. “I never saw a guy sweat like this. The sweat is pouring down.” reports that Trump’s digs at Rubio’s level of perspiration are unnecessary and hurtful considering many Americans struggle with overactive sweat glands. Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes the nerves controlling sweat to turn on at random rather than being triggered by overheating or nervousness, the most common reasons for sweating.

The American Academy of Dermatology states that the main symptom of hyperhidrosis is sweating when there’s no reason the body needs cooling down. For instance, a sufferer of localized hyperhidrosis, most likely to be between the ages of 25 and 64, may sweat while sitting in a cool room. The body doesn’t need to cool down but the sweat glands are overactive so they sweat despite this.

Sufferers of hyperhidrosis not only have to deal with perspiring at unnecessary intervals but also an excessive amount of sweat, typically localized to the hands, feet, and underarms.

Dr. Michael Lanuti, a thoracic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, says he has treated many patients for the condition, and it wears on their self esteem. In an interview with, he said “he has treated businesspeople who cannot shake hands, crime scene investigators who can’t work with gloves, and security agency personnel whose sweating makes it difficult to use fingerprint scanners.”

While doctors can’t say for sure Rubio suffers from hyperhidrosis without examining him, Trump’s attacks attempt to downplay the severity and take away from the legitimacy of the struggle of such a condition.

Treatments for hyperhidrosis vary from topical medication to surgery and the outcomes are different for each person. Without being able to pinpoint the exact cause of the disorder, treating it can be tricky.

While localized hyperhidrosis is a legitimate medical condition, anyone suffering from all-over hyperhidrosis (sweating all over the body for no apparent reason) should seek medical attention as it may be a sign of a bigger problem, such as diabetes or cancer.


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