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Types of Hair loss

One of the most common ways in which men and women both lose hair is by Androgenetic alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia can be caused by a number of ways, many of which are unknown while others are related to the environment and genes. The most important other category is alopecia areata, followed by some more rare variants.

The types of hair loss

Balding is called Alopecia by some. Not that even that fancy name can save you the agony of watching your hair leaving a blank space on your head. There can be a million reasons why your hair might feel it should part from you, but incase the primary reason is hormonal and you are a man you would be said to have what a few fanciful folks choose to call androgenetic alopecia. In case you are a woman the same problem gets a new name; female pattern alopecia. Like many other benefits women enjoy by virtue of their sex, they also tend to be less in danger of losing their hair, men in general tend to be more susceptible to this crisis.

Male and female differences in hair loss

Balding is called Alopecia by some. Not that even that fancy name can save you the agony of watching your hair leaving a blank space on your head. There can be a million reasons why your hair might feel it should part from you, but incase the primary reason is hormonal and you are a man you would be said to have what a few fanciful folks choose to call androgenetic alopecia. In case you are a woman the same problem gets a new name; female pattern alopecia. Like many other benefits women enjoy by virtue of their sex, they also tend to be less in danger of losing their hair, men in general tend to be more susceptible to this crisis.

Male hair loss

Among the males, hair is lost in a certain regularized way. The hair loss begins from both the temples and then proceeds further up. The hairline recedes until an "M" is formed and thins at the crown. This leads to complete or partial baldness in time. Androgens, especially the hormone dihydrotestosterone, play an important role. These androgens are related to the development of the male sexuality before birth and during puberty. The androgens are also important in as much that they regulate the hair growth. The name assigned is 'male pattern baldness’.

How many men get pattern hair loss?

In case you are beginning to thin on your north pole, you needn’t fret, about 50% men all over the world have male pattern hair loss sometime or the other. People from different countries are affected differently by the disease. Many, like most Caucasian males for instance, tend to be affected by it heavily and lose large amounts of hair by the age of 50. People from other countries like China and Japan, for instance, save their thick black tresses for a much longer time.

DHT: what in the name of god is that?

Dihydrotestosterone is a sort of hormone. How much of it is produced depends on an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which hastens the chemical reaction DHT is a part of. DHT is found in various different tissues of our body. The scalp is just one of them. This 5-alpha reducatse can be controlled by various prescription drugs.

Genetic influence

The question here should more suitably be, ‘who is responsible…?’. Yes, there are people you can actually point to and glare at for making you bald, unfortunately they are your parents and relatives and ancestors. Pattern hair loss is hereditary and is caused by a genetically determined sensitivity to the effects of dihydrotestosterone. This blasted dihydrotestosterone (DHT for short) reduces the growth period of the hair cycle. This reduces the size of the hair follicles and thereby reduces the general length and diameter of the hair, which sprouts out of it.

Female hair loss

In females, it is called androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern alopecia. It is said that one third of women are affected by this condition, especially after menopause. It is different in as much that the hair becomes thin all over the head, and the hairline does not retreat. The hair loss is not concentrated on any one place. Thus they bald much less than men.

A gradual process

Even though sometimes women experience excessive loss of hair, it is usually a gradual process. It is said that for a normal person up to 125 hairs usually fall, each day unless you already have thin hair. However once this number is exceeded, one faces a hair loss problem. In girls, when one loses hair then the new root which grows in place of that is shorter. Girls usually start losing hair when they achieve puberty. During this time we must observe whether there is an excess of hair on the face or body as this might indicate a disproportion in the hormones. Thus change in hormones may lead to loss or gaining of hair. After pregnancy or after stoppage of contraceptive pills, hair loss occurs in many women, although not immediately. Stress is also a factor here. The hair loss due to these reasons is called "Telogen Effluvium� and usually stays only while the condition remains.

For the treatment for damaged hair or hair loss, dermatologists often suggest Rogaine, a medicine that has 2 % of topical minoxidil. Since it is approved by the FDA, there is no need to worry. Propecia, which is the other well-known medicine for hair treatment, is exclusively for men. Pills to control your hormones like Prempro and Aldactoneare known to help many women. But it is a long drawn out process. Another way to go about things is to go straight to a hair transplant surgeon. Technology has advanced so much that if you match the qualifications then you can achieve the desired results provided of course that you are not impractical.

A strong diet or wrong diet pill may cause hair loss as well, as the change the metabolism. Pick the right diet pills to avoid this problem.
Styling you hair may help but they might cause damage too. If you do not achieve your desired results, then you might need professional counseling. However one can easily combat hair loss.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is a nasty little disease, which can make you lose precious strands of hair from all over your body, your eyebrows, eyelashes and even your squiggly nose hair. But out of all the areas it attacks it loves the scalp best, after all that’s where the most amount of hair is. Traditionally it makes you lose clumps of hair from one specific spot it lovingly appropriates, thus it is also called ‘Spot Baldness’.
There are a large variety of alopecia’s, which can attack your tresses. Some of these may be described below.
Alopecia aerta monolocularis likes to ‘uncover’ only one part of your head. On the other hand Alopecia areata multiculoris tends to be more libertine regarding which spot to choose, they tend to cause baldness at a number of places at the same time. In case you lose hair from everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE then you will be said to have Alopecia areata universalis. If it’s only the beard it chooses to bring down, it’s Alopecia areata barbae. Some people are also affected by a strange variant of the disease Diffuse alopecia areata, which causes you to lose all your dark hair at one go in case you have nice salt and pepper hued tresses. This is usually thought to be caused by psychological trauma.

What causes it?

Alopecia areata is considered an autoimmune disease. When affected by it the body, for some strange reason, identifies hair follicles as foreign tissues and thereby stalls any hair growth. No, it won’t pass onto you if you sit next to a balding man on a bus, but you might get it in case your distant cousin George had it. Some people of course also choose to blame stress for it, but then pretty much every crisis in the world has found a good reason in stress.

How do I get to know when I am getting bald?

Watch out for small, shy looking bald patches, which appear on your head unnoticed and meekly stare out at observers like a schoolgirl towards Brad Pitt. They usually appear during your teen years but can show up at virtually any age. It can of course affect your scalp, but it can also affect any other hair-bearing part of your body. Your hair loss problem can disappear for a bit or be gone completely, but in case it persists you can be sure that this baby wants to be around.

How to treat it?

Most definitely the way you would want to treat a nasty problem like hair loss. On a more serious not, watch the area the alopecia chooses to attack you in case, of course, the affected area is small since it might for all practical purpose disappear as suddenly as it had appeared. In case of acute hair loss usually steroids or immune modulators or photo therapy do not work.

Prognosis

First amongst the many effects of alopecia is the mental agony caused by the loss of the self-image every one of us likes to entertain about themselves. No one really wants to be bald! And the realization that there not wanting to be so makes no difference to the fact that they soon turn out to be hairless, tends to hit hard. Patients have also reported a greater incidence of hypothyroidism, asthma etc. Hair loss also mean your scalp will have a closer encounter with the sun, and therefore sunstroke etc. becomes more common amongst patients.
Losing nose hair can make you more prone to hay fever and other such allergic conditions.
There isn’t yet a sure shot way of getting your hair back once you lose it. Sure you can go in for hair weaving, but for all you know your bald patch might choose to grow bit by bit with time making the weaving redundant. In case you are shy of going out in the public with your thinning hair take help of a counselor, or better still buy yourself a nice fancy wig.
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