Losing Your Crowning Glory: An Introduction To Hair Loss
Hair loss is a very sad occurrence that is experienced by people both young and old. It has been a cause of great distress for people, mostly men, not only because it greatly affects one’s appearance negatively but also because it could be an indication of some health problem lying underneath.
Types of Hair Loss
The manifestations of hair loss encompass a wide range of expression from mild thinning of the hair to the complete loss of hair. While people normally shed hair everyday, there are cases when the head sheds more than the usual amount of hair, and this results into balding. People experience different kinds of hair loss:
1. Telogen effluvium – this usually happens during episodes of great body stress such as after a major operation, a long bout of sickness, or a serious infection. This type of hair loss happens usually around two to three months of the stressful period and becomes evident by unusual amounts of hair in shower sink, a pillow, or on a comb.
2. As a sign of a disease – loss of hair can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as syphilis, lupus, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, vitamin and mineral deficiency, hormonal imbalance, and other illnesses.
3. As a drug side effect – some medication can cause temporary or permanent hair loss. Among drugs that are known to have hair loss as a side effect are amphetamines, warfarin, beta-blockers, lithium, heparin, levodopa, among many others. Drugs used for cancer chemotherapy are also very known for their hair thinning effects.
4. Traumatic alopecia – this is the technical term used to refer to hair loss due to blunt forces such us when using abusive hair styling techniques that subject the hair and scalp to pulling, tight braiding, extreme heat, and harmful chemicals.
5. Tinea capitis – this is a fungal infection that occurs on the scalp. With this condition, hair breaks off from the surface of the scalp forming patches that lack hair. Children are susceptible to this form of hair loss.
6. Alopecia areata – this type of hair loss is due to unknown causes. What experts know is that the immune system fights the body itself causing follicles to weaken and hair to fall out. This could result into total hair loss, technically known as alopecia totalis.
7. Androgenetic alopecia or hereditary pattern baldness – this is a form of hair loss typically experienced by men, running in families. This is caused primarily by hereditary factors in conjunction with male hormones (e.g. testosterone) and aging. Women may also experience this type of hair loss, but it occurs rather rarely.
Manifestations of Hair Loss
A normal head loses around 50 to 100 hairs a day. Going beyond this range is a sign of abnormal hair loss. Most people discover hair loss when they see unusual amounts of hair on their brushes and clothing or in drains of their bathrooms.
To diagnose hair loss, a doctor, usually a dermatologist would examine a person’s medical history, nutritional profile, and hair styling habits. One may also be tested or fungal infection or other diseases.
Preventing Hair Loss
Doctors usually recommend having a healthy diet, decreasing stress, and proper hair care to prevent hair loss. Doctors also avoid prescribing medication that may cause hair loss for people who have evident tendencies of getting bald.
Treatment for Hair Loss
Hair loss can be treated according to the cause of the condition. Drugs that cause hair loss should be discontinued. A healthy diet and a relaxed lifestyle is prescribed for stress-related hair loss. Underlying diseases that cause hair loss are to be treated accordingly. Some drugs that promote the growth of hair may also be prescribed for extreme cases of hair loss.
Hair loss can be a devastating portion of a person’s life no matter how people say that it hair is just an indispensable part of the body. Knowing about hair loss is a key step in preventing it from happening or stopping it from occurring.
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