Hair Loss or even baldness commonly occurs in the head.
Hair in Detail
The hair is made up of the protein keratin. A single hair consists of a hair shaft, a root and a follicle. The visible part of the hair is called the hair shaft. The root on the other hand is where the hair shaft is attached onto the scalp. The follicle is located under the skin where hair starts to grow. Under the follicle is the hair bulb where melanin is located. Melanin is a pigment cell responsible for hair color.
Causes of Hair Loss
Normally, people lose 50 to 100 hair strands a day. These hairs are replaced by new hair that grow in the same follicle. When more than a hundred hair strands a day fall off, an individual may suspect that he or she is experiencing hair loss. The causes of hair loss are:
• Medical Conditions – Most medical conditions that cause hair loss involve hormonal imbalances. Conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease and lupus may cause excessive hair loss. Hormonal imbalances can also interfere with the normal process of hair growth.
• Medications – Some medication may have hair loss as their side effects. Moreover, some medications may cause hair loss as it disrupts normal cells from performing their normal process. Chemotherapy agents are known to cause hair loss because they destroy normal cells.
• Styling and Hair treatment – Treatments such as perming, bleaching, and hair coloring contain chemicals that may cause temporary or permanent hair loss. There are also hair styles that can cause baldness. This happens when the hair is pulled excessively for a long period of time leading to disruption of follicles. This abnormality is called traction alopecia.
• Poor Nutrition – When an individual has poor nutrition, her body may not have enough protein, vitamins and minerals to sustain hair growth. Hair loss occurs in conditions such as anorexia, bulimia and iron deficiency anemia, as well as with vegetarians diets with poor protein contents.
• Especial Areata – This is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system destroys the hair follicle leading to hair loss. The hair usually grows back but the hair loss experiences can repeat.
• Androgenic Alopecia – This type of alopecia is common among male adults. This condition is sometimes called male pattern baldness. This is caused by a combination of factors including hormones and genetics. People who use steroids to build their bodies may experience this kind of hair loss. Immunosuppresants are given to patients with this condition but the side effects of this medication in relation to androgenic alopecia are unknown.
• Interruption of hair growth cycle – There are several conditions that can change hair growth temporarily such as pregnancy, surgery and injury.
Treatments for management of hair loss depend on the cause of the condition. Medications such as finasteride, dudasteride and minoxidil solution are clinically proven to prevent further hair loss and regrow hair. Avoiding modifiable risk factors such as stress, poor nutrition, hair treatment and styling will help a person avoid hair loss.