Going bald isn’t always about growing older, or whether or not your father or grandfather was bald. Losing your hair can be a sign that something physical is going wrong. It can mean that you’re sick in some way, that your hormones are out of whack (especially in postpartum women), or you’re simply not eating right. Some medicines can cause you to lose your hair, and believe it or not, even some hairstyles!
A single human hair is made up of: a hair shaft (the part that shows), a root; and a follicle (the part where the hair root grows), from which the hair root grows. Everyone loses some hair everyday – usually between 50 and 100 strands. Problems arise when you either lose more than that, or the hair follicles fail to grow new strands to replace the ones lost on a normal basis.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be caused by a lot of factors: genes, heredity and age are the most common factors. Although a nuisance, they can’t hurt you. But from time to time, severe hair loss can be a sign of other problems:
Illnesses or medical conditions.
Uncontrolled diabetes or thyroid disease can both interfere with hair production and cause you to lose your hair unnaturally. People with kidney, liver diseases and lupus can also lose hair.
Alopecia areata (air-ee-ah-tuh) is a skin disorder that causes the hair on the scalp (and other parts of the body) to fall out, affecting more than 4 million people in the United States alone. Alopecia areata is believed to be a type of autoimmune disease that damage’s hair follicles when a person’s own immune system attacks them.
Trichotillomania ( trik-o-til-uh-may-nee-uh) is a psychological disorder that causes people to repeatedly pull there own hair out, leaving unsightly bald patches.
Hair treatments and styling.
Having your hair colored, bleached, straightened or permed too often can cause both temporary and permanent damage to the hair follicles, which can inhibit hair growth. In some cases, even wearing your hair pulled back to tightly too often can place excess tension on the scalp, causing traction alopecia, which can permanently damage the hair follicles.
When the body doesn’t get enough protein, vitamins, and minerals to sustain hair growth baldness may occur.
Disruption of the hair growth cycle.
Sometimes, hair growth cycles are disrupted by trauma caused by childbirth, surgery or even undergoing anesthesia. Since it can take months for hair to grow, a person with a disrupted hair growth cycle may not notice any major changes for weeks or months after the incidence occurs.
The most common culprit of male baldness is androgenic alopecia, also known as male-pattern baldness, caused by a number of factors, including hormones called androgens and genetics.
No matter what the cause, it’s important to see a doctor if you notice a sudden change in hair growth patterns or unusual balding patterns that suddenly appear with no apparent cause.
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