Hair loss can also be referred to Alopecia; a normal condition in both men and women. People of different age groups lose hair because of one reason or the other. The process either involves the reduced rate of hair growth or breakage of hair shaft due to the interference of the follicles.
Various human activities and conditions of the body lead to either of these processes that result in patches and receding hairlines. Common causes of hair loss include; chemotherapy, low vitamin levels, anemia, thyroid disease, and protein deficiency. While falling off of hair is a normal process in daily human life, significant amounts of hair falling off is a concern.
Alopecia is a medical condition that needs keen attention just like other improper body functions. And because hair growth is a coordination of multiple body activities, doctors take significant time to diagnose and ascertain causes. Common diagnosis methods are; thyroid functions tests, iron level, complete blood count (CBC), vitamin B, and scalp biopsy. Medical experts recommend either application of creams like minoxidil (Rogaine) or medical operations like surgery. Nevertheless, you can prevent hair loss by; good nutrition, avoid physical stress on the hair, and general body hygiene.
Classifications of Hair Loss
Physicians classify hair loss depending on various factors; the result, cause, and behavior. Usually, the scalp is the first area of examination when you go to a doctor in consultation about hair loss. If the scalp is physically affected, it is referred to as scarred hair loss. The condition involves damage and loss of hair follicles thus slowing down or completely inhibiting hair growth in these parts of the scalp. On the other hand, the scalp might appear perfectly normal but with noticeable hair follicles missing. This type of hair loss is known as non-scarred hair loss. Damage to the hair shaft either by chemical or physical reactions also amounts to non-scarring hair loss. Usually, physicians have to pull your hair during the examination stages to establish the percentage of growing hairs against the falling off.
In non-scarring hair loss, there are two types; patchy and diffuse hair loss.
In patchy hair loss, there are small distributed areas with missing hairs. For some people, this type of hair loss affects large regions of the scalp but is still distributed. Several factors contribute to this type of hair loss; both human activities that are controllable and body deficiencies. Twisting and pulling your hair out is one of the major causes, this is known as trichotillomania. In ladies, tight braids and ponytails also contribute to hair loss. Fungal infection is also a known cause of hair loss in distributed parts of the scalp. Besides, patchy hair loss can be associated with the secondary stage of Syphilis.
Diffuse hair loss involves significant and consistent loss of hair on the scalp. In this type, there are distributed patches. Usually, it is one large portion of the scalp, which either starts from the front or the middle. This is common in men baldness. System imbedded diseases are common causes of diffuse hair loss including cancer and endocrine disease.
This is an autoimmune condition where the body fights its own components, in this case, hair follicles. There are no medical tests to ascertain the causes of this condition because it does not involve any systemic problems. While you may have health challenges, they are not related to hair loss in this regard. Alopecia areata is characterized by small quarter-sized circles of hair loss on the perfectly glowing scalp. Sometimes, the whole scalp suddenly turns bald. This is an extensive form of hair loss, known as Alopecia totalis. Usually, hair regrows in these portions of the scalp even in alopecia totalis within three to six months. While it is prevalent on the scalp, this condition can also affect beards and eyebrows.
Causes of alopecia areata are yet to be established. However, the condition is largely associated with high stress levels. Nevertheless, it can be a cause of stress by itself.
Treatment for this naturally occurring condition is often steroid injection, particularly in localized infections. When it occurs in small patches, triamcinolone is used to help the hair regrow much faster. While this is tested and confirmed to be an effective therapy, it may not work in large patches. Instead, oral steroid pills and ultraviolet light forms of therapy are used. Besides, some people opt to cover up the affected areas with artificial hair or even comb hair to cover the area. Today, men choose to clean shave their scalps to create uniformity. It is also a trending style in the 21st century.
Intense and persistent pulling of hair results in this type of hair loss. This is common in women where braids are tightly pulled. Sometimes tight ponytails also cause hair loss. A prolonged strain on the hair follicles leads to breakage of the shaft hence hair falling off. Traction alopecia involves persistent pulling and strain on the hair roots that result in weak hairs thus hair loss. Evidently, this is preventable. Exercise caution on your hairstyles to avoid immense damage.
In medical language, ‘tinea’ means fungal and ‘capitis’ means head. The scalp fungal infection is prevalent in school going children. The condition is common in African American and black African scalps. On the bald spots, you will notice broken hairs. This condition is easily managed with oral antifungals that cure the infection on hair roots.