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Hair loss is a common concern for many people, and it can be caused by a variety of medical conditions. Some of the leading illnesses that can cause hair loss include androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, hypothyroidism, iron deficiency anemia, and certain medications. These conditions can affect both men and women and can range in severity from mild to severe. It is important to understand the underlying cause of hair loss in order to determine the most appropriate treatment.

  1. Androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness): This is the most common cause of hair loss, and it is genetic. It is characterized by a receding hairline and thinning of the hair on the crown and temples.
  2. Alopecia areata: This is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body. It can cause patchy hair loss or complete baldness.
  3. Telogen effluvium: This type of hair loss occurs when the hair growth cycle is disrupted, causing hair to fall out. It can be caused by physical or emotional stress, hormonal changes, or certain medications.
  4. Trichotillomania: This is a psychological disorder characterized by the compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair, leading to hair loss.
  5. Hypothyroidism: This is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. It can cause hair loss, as well as dry skin and nails.
  6. Iron deficiency anemia: This condition occurs when there is not enough iron in the body, which can lead to hair loss.
  7. Certain medications: Some medications, such as chemotherapy drugs and blood thinners, can cause hair loss as a side effect.

Androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness)

Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness, is the most common cause of hair loss. It is a genetic condition that is characterized by a receding hairline and thinning of the hair on the crown and temples. It is caused by the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the hair follicle, which causes the hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. This type of hair loss is usually gradual and typically begins in the late teenage years or early 20s. It can be treated with medications such as minoxidil or finasteride, which can help to stimulate hair growth and slow hair loss. Hair transplants are also a treatment option for androgenetic alopecia.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, leading to hair loss. Alopecia areata can cause patchy hair loss or complete baldness, and it can affect people of all ages. It is often treated with medications such as corticosteroids, which can help stimulate hair growth, or with immunosuppressive drugs. In some cases, the hair may regrow on its own. Wigs, hairpieces, or hair styling can also help to camouflage hair loss.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that occurs when the hair growth cycle is disrupted, causing hair to fall out. It can be caused by physical or emotional stress, hormonal changes, or certain medications. Telogen effluvium usually causes diffuse hair loss, meaning that hair falls out evenly across the scalp. It is often temporary and may resolve on its own, although treatment may be needed if the underlying cause is not resolved. Treatment may include addressing the underlying cause of the hair loss, such as addressing stress or changing medications, as well as nourishing the hair and scalp with a healthy diet and proper hair care practices.

Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder characterized by the compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair, leading to hair loss. It can occur as a result of stress, anxiety, or other emotional issues. Treatment for trichotillomania may include therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or habit reversal training, medication, or a combination of both. In some cases, wearing a wig or using hair extensions can help to camouflage hair loss.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. It can cause hair loss, as well as dry skin and nails. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which can help to restore normal hormone levels and improve symptoms such as hair loss. A healthy diet and proper hair care practices can also help to nourish the hair and scalp.

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that occurs when there is not enough iron in the body, which can lead to hair loss. It is often caused by a deficiency in the diet, but it can also be caused by blood loss or difficulty absorbing iron. Iron deficiency anemia is usually treated with iron supplements or changes to the diet to increase iron intake. A healthy diet rich in iron-containing foods, such as red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, and leafy green vegetables, can help to prevent hair loss due to iron deficiency anemia.

Certain medications

Such as chemotherapy drugs and blood thinners, can cause hair loss as a side effect. In these cases, the hair loss is usually temporary and may resolve once the medication is stopped. Other medications that can cause hair loss include some antidepressants, beta-blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is important to speak with a healthcare provider if you are experiencing hair loss while taking any medication, as they may be able to adjust the dosage or prescribe an alternative medication.

It’s important to note that hair loss can also have other causes, such as certain hairstyles that can put tension on the hair follicles, or certain hair care practices that can damage the hair. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. They may recommend testing to diagnose any medical conditions that may be causing the hair loss, or refer you to a dermatologist or other specialist for further evaluation and treatment.

 

Recently updated on November 28th, 2023