Hair loss can affect scalp or even entire body. The underlying causes behind hair loss may be heredity disorders, hormonal abnormalities, medical problems or side effects of medication. Hair loss medically known as Alopecia results from excessive hair loss from scalp. Anybody can be affected by hair loss but the problem is more common among males.
Men and women lose at least 100 hairs per day. Although that seems scary, it is completely normal. The human head has an approximate 100,000 hairs and the physiology of hairs is changing constantly. Hairs are growing, shedding, re-growing or are in resting phase on a cyclic basis. The problem starts when you are having unusual hair loss, having a visible scalp, feeling the extreme thinning of hairs and a change in texture.
It is important to be alert about your hair health because early recognition of such symptoms can prevent you from permanent hair loss.
An early diagnosis can be helpful in curing the problem effectively.
Hair loss can be increased by various risk factors;
Family history of baldness
Sudden weight loss
Stress and Anxiety
Normal growth and falling pattern of Hair loss:
Hair follicle growth is a cyclic process. Each cyclic phase consists of three phases;
A long growing phase which lasts for a few years named as Anagen
A short transitional phase called as Catagen
A third resting phase is called Telogen
At the end of the cyclic phase the old hairs fall and regrowth of new hairs occur from the follicles restarting the cycle.
Signs you are suffering from hair loss:
Like other signs of ageing, male pattern baldness is not an overnight happening phenomenon. In most of the people, baldness is quite slow and can take a few years to several decades.
One of the basic steps which can be taken to reduce the hair loss is noticing the early signs of alopecia. Certainly, you are able to control or at least take precautionary measures to protect your hairs from falling too early.
It is not easy to identify the hair loss. Most of the signs are so common that its almost impossible to differentiate from the normal hair loss. But still, you have to be a bit conscious and aware about your hair health, especially if you have a family history of baldness.
Below is a list of signs that are alarming regarding hair loss.
Gradual thinning of hairs across the top of the head:
A common sign of hair loss is the loss of hair across the top of head. In men by the age of 35 almost 40% have very noticeable hair loss. This number reaches to 65% hair loss by the age of 60 years. Women also suffer from hair loss too, with at least 50% of women having critical hair loss issues.
Hair thinning on the top of the head is the basic sign of male or female pattern baldness and is quite common. Pattern baldness in males gradually forms an M shape hair line due to receding hairline over the period of few years. Next step is called the horseshoe, in which the hair lining on the crown of the head becomes extremely thin and the scalp is visible. A U shaped is observed when viewed from above.
In women, the hair loss is generally wide spread all over the head. The overall thinning of hair line occurs and is more widespread along the scalp line making it visible.
The reason behind male and female pattern baldness is genetic makeup. Although, the signs of pattern baldness are disappointing and stressful there are treatments are available with high success rates.
Development of Circular Patches or Bald Spots:
Another common symptom is the development of bald patches on the head. This is such an aggressive form of hair loss that it seems as if patches have developed overnight. While in actual it takes a few weeks to develop this symptom.
This condition is known as Alopecia Areata. The size of patches due to alopecia areata are as small as a five pence coin but can grow in size depending on the severity of the condition.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder and affects one in every five people. This disorder can equally effect both the genders. The disorder causes the auto immune system to work against hair follicles considering them a foreign particle. This attack damages the ability of growth of the hairs.
The good news is that this disorder is not permanent in all the cases. In most cases it is temporary with an exception of just 10% cases. Alopecia areata is triggered due to infection, virus and side effects of some medicines.
Although, this problem does not have a proper treatment but low-level laser therapy can reduce the symptoms and help to regrow lost hairs.
Too many fallen hairs in the shower and on brush:
Does it ever happen that you have noticed more than usual hairs on your hairbrush or more hairs coming to your hands during a shower? It is an early indicator that you are going to lose your hairs. If you are suffering from such situation then keep a close eye on your hair fall. It is worth to find out that there is something which is not right.
It is mandatory to consult a health professional and seek help. A plan to cope with this situation is the only solution to this growing hair fall.
Unusual Hair loss in body areas other than Head:
The hair loss from your head is quite obvious but at the same tim,e hair loss from body parts is not as noticeable. It will only be obvious if a drastic change appears. The hair loss from body parts can be a result of the auto immune disorder, thyroid problem, chemotherapy or other underlying disorders.
Hair loss will be observed onthe legs, arms, eyebrows, chest, abdominal area, facial hairs etc. If you find any kind of hair thinning or hair loss on your body parts, it is better to consult a specialist to confirm that it is not an underlying critical health issue.
Your scalp is becoming scaly or getting more visible:
Having a scalp, which is getting visible due to extreme hair loss or scaly and itchy scalp is a clear sign that you are suffering from a dermatological problem. However, the end result is again hair loss even if its inflammation or other dermatological problem. Obviously, there must be several reasons behind this inflammation of the scalp. The most common reasons are usually Psoriasis or dermatitis. The hair loss may be a symptom as well as a reaction to the treatments used for the cure of these problems.
Excessive itching on the scalp causes the breaking and weakens the roots of the hairs. Even the creams, shampoos and lotions are not friendly for the hairs and cause damage to follicles and shaft of the hair.
Hair thinning or alopecia also cause distress and low self-confidence. Hairs have a direct role in a person’s physical appearance especially in women. Hairs are a sign of beauty and attractiveness in women. However, men consider beautiful hairs as a sign of youth and vigour. Both the genders find the thought of hair loss difficult to bear even after having a family history of baldness.
Therefore, hair loss is a complex psychological issue in both genders. The suffering people experience a lot of pressure, loss of sense of satisfaction regarding their appearance. Thus, hair loss should be discussed and preventions should be taken to minimise the loss.
Fortunately, there are treatments for hair loss such as Finasteride, which is worth looking into if you are worried about male pattern baldness. Alternatively, for some further reading on treatments click here.