More than 55 million Americans suffer from a form of hair loss as a result of genetics, medication interactions, or underlying medical conditions.
Hair loss is a condition that affects men, women, and children of any age due to a variety of lifestyle issues and medical conditions. Hair loss can occur in any area of the body and can develop gradually or suddenly. Some hair loss conditions can be effectively treated while others can become chronic if left untreated or if due to a hereditary trait.
Hair Loss Risk Factors
There are various factors that can increase the chances of developing a form of hair loss. Risk factors include:
- Family history – The risk of hair loss dramatically increases if family members on either side have experienced hair loss.
- Damaging hair treatments – The overuse of styling products and hair coloring can dry and damage the hair, leaving it more prone to breakage.
- Inadequate nutrition – Lack of certain dietary sources including iron and protein can cause hair loss. Crash dieting and eating disorders are two large causes of sudden hair loss.
Signs and Symptoms of Hair Loss
There are many ways in which hair loss can appear, ranging from gradual loss to sudden baldness. Symptoms of hair loss may include:
- Hair that begins to gradually thin at the top – this pattern of hair loss is the most common among men and women
- Patchy or circular bald spots – This form of hair loss generally affects the scalp but can sometimes cause hair loss of the eyebrows and beards.
- Loosening of the hair – This condition can be caused by sudden emotional stress or shock to the body. This type of hair loss typically causes overall thinning of the hair but does not cause patchy bald spots to form.
- Full-body hair loss – Entire areas of the body can begin to lose hair due to certain medications and medical treatments including chemotherapy for cancer. This type of hair loss generally subsides after treatment has been completed.
Hair Loss Diagnosis and Treatment
If you begin to notice sudden hair loss or the loosening of hair after showering or grooming, contact Adena Dermatology. Often, rapid hair loss can indicate an underlying medical condition and may resolve once the condition is treated. To provide an accurate diagnosis, your Adena dermatologist may begin by asking questions about the onset of hair loss and changes to your daily routine that may affect your condition. Lab tests may be conducted to test for certain medical conditions such as lupus, a thyroid disorder, or diabetes. Hair samples and skin biopsies may be conducted on the area that is being affected by hair loss.
Various medications are available to help reduce inflammation of the affected area or stimulate hair growth. Oral medications such as finasteride treat male-pattern baldness. Topical liquids such as minoxidil prevent future hair loss and may aid in the regrowth of new hair. Surgical procedures like hair transplants and scalp reduction surgery may be performed if the condition does not respond to prescription treatments. Individuals also may choose to wear wigs and hairpieces to cover areas of the scalp that have been affected by hair loss.
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