Hair Loss Is A Normal Part Of Life


Hair loss is a normal part of life – it happens while you’re washing & drying your hair or just brushing & combing it. Losing from 50 to 100 hairs a day is the average number for most people. Hair goes through cycles and there will usually be a new one replacing the ones you lose. However, hair loss may also be a sign of a serious medical condition. The condition of your hair is an important indicator of your health; a proper evaluation by a dermatologist is the best way to determine if you have an actual health problem and what the possible treatment may be.

Here are several reasons for hair loss:

A phenomenon which occurs after pregnancy, major surgery, drastic weight loss, or extreme stress, in which you shed large amounts of hair every day, is called Telogen Effluvium. You will usually notice the hair loss when shampooing, styling, or brushing your hair. It can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. During Telogen Effluvium, your hair shifts faster than normal from its growing phase into the "resting" phase before moving quickly into the shedding, or “Telogen”, phase. There are no tests for Telogen Effluvium, but your doctor may ask you about recent life events and look for small "club- shaped" bulbs on the fallen hair's roots to determine a diagnosis.

Genetic hair loss is known as Androgenetic Alopecia and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, is the most common cause of hair loss. The gene can be inherited from either your mother's or father's side of the family, though you're more likely to have it if both of your parents had hair loss. Women with this trait tend to develop thinning at the hairline behind the bangs. This condition may start as early as your 20s. You may be vulnerable if your mother also has this pattern of thinning. In some cases, the hair loss may be diffuse (spread across the entire scalp). Your dermatologist will examine the pattern of hair loss to determine if it's hereditary and may order blood work to rule out other causes.

Millions of people, most of them women, suffer from thyroid disease. When your body produces too little thyroid hormone, the hormone responsible for metabolism, heart rate, and mood, you are said to have Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. If your body makes too much of the hormone, you're said to have Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid. Thyroid hormone is responsible for everything from your basal metabolic rate—the rate at which your body uses oxygen and energy to function—to the growth of your hair, skin, and nails. But when you don't have the right amount, you may notice changes in bodily functions. Your doctor will order a blood test to measure the thyroid-stimulating hormone to determine if excess TSH levels indicate hypothyroidism, or abnormally low levels suggest hyperthyroidism.

A chronic autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system attacks healthy tissues is known as Lupus. Lupus often causes extreme fatigue, headaches, oral ulcers, and painful, swollen joints. Many people also experience hair loss, which may be mild and occur while shampooing or brushing your hair—or it may be more severe, coming out in patches and accompanied by a rash on the scalp. Because these symptoms occur in many other conditions, Lupus is sometimes overlooked. A rheumatologist will examine joints and other tissues for signs of inflammation, such as heat, pain, swelling, and redness. A blood test to measure levels of anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) may also indicate lupus.

Article by
Las Vegas Dermatologist