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Hair Loss

Definition of Hair Loss

The lack of all or a significant part of the hair on the head and sometimes on other parts of the body. Hair loss is something which everyone is facing in day-to-day life. Approx 80% population is experiencing hair loss and its causes may vary from person to person.

Alternative Names

Loss of hair; Alopecia; Baldness; Telogen effluvium

Symptoms of Hair Loss

It is normal for a person to lose up to 100-150 strings of hair in a day but if you experience excess amount of hair fall then itís a serious problem. The symptoms of hair loss can help you to determine the type whether itís a natural falling process or require consultation/doctors advice. Below are some major symptoms associated with hair loss.

Hair Loss Symptoms in Men

  • Hair starts falling out at the sides of the head.
  • Receding hairline at the temples and balding.
  • The scalp begins to thin out and the top of the head has lost most of the hair.
  • Constant hair shedding. This may be noticed on cloths, bed sheets and on combs.

Hair Loss Symptoms in Women

  • Hair shedding in large amount after combing or brushing.
  • At times women gave birth to a baby experience hair loss.
  • Hair falls out in large when washing it.
  • Small bald patches appear on the scalp.

Causes, and risk factors of Hair Loss

Hair Loss Cure

The most common cause of hair loss is genetics - inherit the tendency to lose hair from either or both of parents. The medical term for the genetic predisposition for hair loss is "androgenetic alopecia".

In androgenetic alopecia, the genes affect how the hair grows. They trigger a sensitivity to a class of hormones called androgens, including testosterone, which causes hair follicles (which hair grows from) to shrink. Shrinking follicles produce thinner hair and eventually none at all. Thus, androgenetic alopecia is caused by the body's failure to produce new hairs and not by excessive hair loss. Heredity also affects the age at which you begin to lose hair and the developmental speed, pattern and extent of your baldness.

Androgenetic alopecia accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By the age of 35 two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of appreciable hair loss and by the age of 50 approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair.

Men generally develop bald spots on the forehead area or on the top of the head. In men, the hairs on the top of the head have a genetic sensitivity to the male hormone testosterone while the hairs on the sides and back of the head do not possess this genetic trait and therefore are not affected. For this reason hairs removed from the sides and the back (donor hair) will maintain their genetic predisposition when transplanted and continue to grow when moved to the top of the head where hair loss has occurred.

For woman, female pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss. It can begin at puberty, but is most often seen after menopause. Women have an overall thinning of the hair throughout the scalp while the frontal hairline generally remains intact.

Other Hair Loss Causes And Risk Factors

Hair loss is not usually caused by a disease, but is related to aging, heredity, and testosterone. In addition to the common male and female patterns from a combination of these factors, other possible causes of hair loss, especially if in an unusual pattern exists, include:

Treatment for Hair Loss

If hair loss is caused by an illness, treatment of the illness is the best treatment for hair loss. The decision to treat androgenetic alopecia depends upon its emotional effect on the patient's sense of well-being. Many different therapies to stop hair loss and to regrow hair are promoted; you should discuss these options with your physician to establish their validity.

Treatment options include grooming techniques, wigs and hairpieces, medications, and surgery.

  • Styling hair to cover the areas with the most hair loss is effective for mild cases. Washing and styling the hair will not cause further hair loss.
  • For more severe hair loss, wigs and hairpieces can provide good results if you are willing to try them. Either of these options can be used in combination with medications or surgery if the results of styling or the hairpiece alone are not satisfying.

Complications of Hair Loss

Autoimmune conditions

Someone with alopecia areata is more likely to have or to develop other autoimmune conditions, such as:

  • thyroid disease - conditions that affect your thyroid gland, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • diabetes - a condition that is caused by too much glucose (sugar) in the blood
  • vitiligo - a condition that produces white patches on the skin

These conditions are all linked to problems with the immune system (the bodyís natural defence against infection and illness). In autoimmune conditions, your immune system produces antibodies (proteins) that should fight infections, but instead they attack your body's healthy tissues.

Emotional issues

Hair loss can be difficult to come to terms with. The hair on your head can be a defining part of your identity. It reflects the image that you have of yourself and how you want others to see you.

If you start to lose your hair, it can feel as if you are losing part of your identity. This can affect your self-confidence and sometimes lead to depression.

Speak to your GP if you are finding it difficult to deal with your hair loss. They may suggest counselling, which is a type of talking therapy where you can discuss your issues with a trained healthcare professional.

A number of charities, such as Alopecia Awareness, have support groups and online forums where you can talk to others who are experiencing hair loss.

Prevention of Hair Loss

All people lose hair on a daily basis, but unfortunatley many people will go through rapid hair loss without new hair coming in to replace it which results in thinning hair and possibly lead to some degree of baldness. Hereditary plays a major role in the severity of hair loss but improper care of your hair along with an unhealthy lifestyle may cause early hair loss.

  • Getting proper nutrition is essential for healthy hair.
  • Water, protien, biotin (part of the vitamin B complex), vitamins A, B6, B12, C, copper, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, calcium, folic acid, and magnesium all play a part in maintaining a healthy scalp, skin, and hair.
  • Use your fingertips to massage your scalp which will increase circulation in your scalp which is important for hair growth.
  • Gentle combing or brushing of your hair will help break up hardened oils that clog your pores. It is recommended that you comb or brush 100-200 strokes in the morning and at night.
  • Avoid excessive wind, sun, and heat (such as from hair dryers, hot showers, and curling irons) on your hair.
  • Tight fitting caps and hats will cause poor circulation in your scalp and will also cause build-up of sweat and grime.
  • If you have live a high stressed life try reducing stress by taking some time out daily just to relax, excessive stress is believed to induce hair loss.
  • If you color your hair, limit coloring it to once ever 2 months. Hair coloring damages your hair and the less frequently you color it the better.
  • Avoid putting too much physical stress on your hair, brush/comb your hair gently, don't pull your hair when you brush and avoid braids and ponytails if possible, they place constant stress on your hair.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Use a conditioner and trim any split ends.
  • See your doctor or a dermatologist for advice if you have concerns about hair loss and want to seek treatment.

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