Millions of people suffer from hair-loss issues daily. Although it is normal to lose some hair every day, problems begin to arise when you start losing large amounts of hair frequently. The American Academy of Dermatology states that the average person is expected to lose 50 to 100 strands of hair daily. This may seem like a lot, but it is only an issues if your hair doesn’t re-grow at the rate it should or if you experience a large amount of hair loss. According to a survey conducted by the Hair Foundation, 43% of the female population is concerned about hair loss. When you consider the various factors that lead to hair thinning, like illnesses, these concerns aren’t misplaced.
Types of Hair Loss
There are two types of hair loss that a person can experience – scarring hair loss and non-scarring hair loss. Scarring hair loss implies that your hair follicle gets damaged, and your hair cannot re-grow itself. Non-scarring hair loss means that you are losing your hair, but it will still grow back. Hair loss can been attributed to illness, medications and hereditary factors.
Common Causes of Hair Loss
A number of issues can trigger hair loss. More than 50% of men and women experience hair loss that is triggered by issues such as hereditary factors, improper hair care and an unhealthy scalp.
Genetic Hair Loss
Genetic hair loss is not accompanied by excessive shedding of hair, but by volume that starts to thin out over time. The hair-loss patterns are known to be different for men and women. Men traditionally go completely bald (particularly on the top of their heads), while women experience a general thinning of their hair volume that rarely develops into total baldness. Moreover, if a woman is to experience severe hair loss, it almost always arrives at an early age.
Improper hair care and excessive styling can damage the hair and lead to hair loss. Things like heat, chemicals, excessive shampooing, dyeing and styling can weaken your hair, causing it to break off. In most cases, things like keratin, blow-drying and coloring are the worst culprits. If a woman is experiencing hair loss because of excessive styling, her hair will simply break off without leaving behind club-shaped telogen bulbs. The best way to treat this condition is to reduce the use of heat tools. Also try to avoid changing your hair color dramatically or using harmful chemicals on your hair.
An unhealthy scalp condition can lead to inflammation that makes it difficult for your hair to grow. There are all sorts of skin conditions such as psoriasis, fungal infections and dandruff that can create unhealthy scalp conditions. The most common symptoms of hair loss due to an unhealthy scalp include greasy, yellowish scales in your hair or on the shoulders, thick white scales on your scalp that begin to bleed when you pull them off or red patches on the scalp. Different conditions require different treatments. Most issues also require prescription products for proper treatment.
Other Causes of Hair Loss
Besides the common causes of hair loss, men and women also suffer from a number of hair-loss issues that can develop into serious problems. Unfortunately, not all of these issues are reversible. Some issues can be treated with the help of the right medication, while other issues could lead to permanent baldness. Because of this, you should always consult a specialist the moment you experience excessive hair loss for a proper diagnosis and to start a treatments as soon as possible.
Iron deficiencies usually occur in people who don’t consume adequate amounts of iron in their diet, people with low red blood cells or women who experience heavy menstrual cycles. The most common symptoms of iron deficiencies are weakness, pale skin, headaches and excessive fatigue. The best way to treat your iron deficiencies is to eat food items that are rich in iron such as leafy greens, fortified cereals, pork, beef, beans and fish. Iron supplements are also available.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects many people which causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissues. Some of the main symptoms of lupus include headaches, swollen joints, fatigue and oral ulcers. Many people also experience mild hair loss during shampooing or brushing or severe hair loss in patches that is accompanied by a rash on the scalp. The ideal way to treat lupus is to see a rheumatologist and get it treated using oral medications such as prednisone.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Over 5 million women in the US alone suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. The condition can occur at an early age and is mostly caused due to hormonal imbalances that force the ovaries to produce excessive male hormones. The symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, facial hair growth and acne. You might also experience hair loss on the scalp. PCOS can be treated using birth control pills or prescription medicines that block male hormones.
Alopecia areata is another autoimmune disease in which the immune system does not behave as it should. The immune system, of people with this condition, attacks the hair follicles. It affects millions of people all over the world and may be triggered by illness or stress. The common symptoms of alopecia areata include smooth bald patches on the scalp and complete hair loss. The ideal way to treat this disease is using intralesional corticosteroids and lowering stress levels.
Millions of people all over the globe suffer from thyroid issues. When the body produces low amounts of the thyroid hormone, a person suffers from hypothyroidism. On the other hand, when the body produces excessive amounts of the thyroid hormone, a person suffers from hyperthyroidism. Since the thyroid is integral to hair growth, it can lead to all sorts of changes in your hair fall patterns. The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include unexplained weight gain, constipation, difficulties in concentration, depression and fatigue. The hair also begins to break more easily. The main symptoms of hyperthyroidism include muscle weakness, moist skin, nervousness and irritability. Hair loss is another symptom because of the faster metabolism. You can consult a doctor for thyroid hormone medications to restore your thyroid levels back to normal.
Telogen effluvium mostly occurs after surgeries, pregnancy, extreme stress or dramatic weight loss. It is characterized by large amounts of hair loss during styling, brushing and shampooing. In many cases, telogen effluvium simply goes away with time. Some cases might also require switching medications or reducing your stress levels.
Ultimately, you need to take proper care of your hair to prevent hair loss. If you’re experiencing more hair loss than usual, consult a doctor immediately. Remember, the sooner a health issue is detected, the easier it is to treat it.