This refers to excessive hair loss from the scalp.

It is customary to lose some hair each day as part of the cycle of growing new hair and shedding some. However, when there is excess hair loss, it becomes a cause for concern.

Hair loss can affect men, women and children.

Did you know?

Recent studies suggest that there has been a 250 percent rise in hair loss cases, especially in the 16-25 age group.

How & Why

Hair loss affects about 85 percent of men and 45 percent of women. Whilst marginal hair loss and thinning on the crown occurs in 25 percent of women by age 45, it may grossly affect 65 percent of men at a much earlier age.  The commonest hair loss pattern seen in males, and less commonly severely in some females, is the frontal recession form, which exposes the temples.

•    A family history of hair loss makes receding hair line a potential genetic anomaly.  You can easily blame it on your genes, for nearly 50 percent of all cases of premature baldness are hereditary.  Other causes include dandruff, atopic dermatic, or eczema.

•    Scalp hair is also sometimes damaged by cosmetic procedures like prolonged traction, permanent weaving, colouring, shampoo, soap, including faulty scalp massage, iron-deficiency anaemia and thyroid problems.

•    Certain conventional medications – e.g., steroids and anti-cancer drugs – may also cause diffused hair loss.  Short-term hair loss may occur in women taking oral contraceptive pills.

There are other triggers for hair loss, including parasitic infection, stress and emotional problems, including daily application of treated, or chlorinated, water to the scalp, lack of exercise and gout.

Symptoms & Diagnosis:

Common symptoms including thinning of hair, appearance of bald spots, a change in pattern of growth, a history of hair loss, or baldness in the family.

Men are at an inherited disadvantage – their hair loss blueprint is four times greater than women.

The most common type of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, it worsens with age.  It’s marked by a receding hairline, with bald spots over the crown.  The cause may be genetic, smoking, alcohol, depression, body-building anabolic steroids and creatine supplements.  Other causes may include hormonal (DHT-dihydrotesterone) problems, thyroid disorders and excess stress.

Many women notice hair loss three months after they’ve had a baby.  This hair loss is hormonal.  During pregnancy, high hormonal levels cause the body to keep hair that would normally fall out.  When the hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels, hair fall out and the regular cycle of growth and loss begins anew.  The normal hair loss symptom in women is overall diffused thinning of the hair, unlike male pattern baldness.  Women losing hair show thinning of hair strands.

Hair loss may sometimes predict an underlying disease.  Hair starts thinning 5 – 6 weeks before the detection of insulin-dependent diabetes.  Likewise, hair loss on the crown is said to imply a three-fold increased risk of heart disease in men.

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