There are a plethora of diseases that cause hair loss, and knowing what they are and how they can be treated is key to prevention and promoting hair regrowth. So, for all you need to know about common diseases which can result in hair loss, keep on reading!
An insight into diseases that cause hair loss
Surprisingly, hair loss is a lot more common than you may initially think. In fact, it is a relatively normal part of life, especially for women during childbirth and menopause and men as they reach adulthood. Although it is not an uncommon problem, we understand that losing your hair can really dampen your confidence, which is why we offer a number of hair replacement solutions to help you feel yourself again. If you or someone you know is suffering from hair loss then we want to help in any way that we can. Our hair loss solutions in Milton Keynes provides you with the most natural non-surgical remedy for a full head of hair, which you can then cut, style and colour to your preference.
Anaemia is a condition where you do not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. All red blood cells contain haemoglobin, which is an iron-rich protein that gives blood its red colour. Without sufficient haemoglobin, your red blood cells are unable to carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body, or carry carbon dioxide from other parts of the body to your lungs so that it can be exhaled. As a result, having anaemia causes many physical symptoms, such as:
There are many different types of anaemia, but the most common is iron-deficiency anaemia. According to research, there is evidence to support the claim that hair follicle cells are sensitive to decreasing levels of iron. Under these conditions, it becomes difficult for new follicle cells to grow effectively. While hair loss is not one of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia, some people do experience it. The relationship between hair loss and anaemia is yet to be medically determined, however, research has indicated that iron deficiency hair loss does not cause scarring of the hair follicles. This is somewhat positive as it means the follicles are not severely damaged, making natural regrowth a possibility.
Alopecia is a disease that develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in unpredictable hair loss. Typically, alopecia causes hair to fall out in small, fairly unnoticeable patches. However, these patches can eventually start to connect and become noticeable. In some extreme cases, people can suffer from complete loss of hair on the scalp or the entire body. Alopecia can affect anyone as any life stage, but it is more common for cases to occur before the age of 30. Currently, there is no cure for this disease, but there are treatments suggested by doctors that aim to help hair grow back more quickly.
The most common and effective treatment for alopecia are corticosteroids – powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. Corticosteroids are available in different forms, such as tablets, injections, inhalers and creams. However, as no treatment has proven to be 100% effective, extensive research has been conducted in an attempt to find a solution. Studies on animals have found that quercetin, a naturally occurring bioflavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, can protect against the development of alopecia areata and effectively treat existing hair loss. Of course, further research is needed, including human clinical trials, before quercetin can be considered as a treatment method for alopecia, but its effects are certainly positive.
Having an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can result in hair loss of the entire scalp, as opposed to more discrete areas. Having an overactive thyroid means the thyroid gland produces too much of the thyroid hormones, which causes unpleasant symptoms such as swelling of the neck, palpitations and persistent tiredness/weakness. Like most diseases, an overactive thyroid can affect absolutely anyone, but it’ is about ten times more common in women than men, and typically starts between 20 and 40 years of age. On the other hand, having an underactive thyroid means the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones. Symptoms for hypothyroidism include tiredness, weight gain and feeling depressed.
Treatment for these diseases comes in several forms, including daily hormone replacement tablets, radioiodine treatment and surgery.
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin that can affect both humans and animals. Initially, the infection will be visible on your skin, with red patches showing up on the affected areas and later spreading to other parts of the body. Body parts that are commonly affected by ringworm are the scalp, feet, groin, beard and hands. Suffering from tinea capitis specifically refers to ringworm of the scalp. This type of ringworm will often start with small sores that eventually develop into, itchy, scaly bald patches. Anyone can be affected by this disease, but it is most common in children. What causes this infection is a fungus called dermatophytes, which thrives on dead tissue, such as fingernails, hair, and the outer layers of your skin. Overcrowding and poor hygiene increase the spread of ringworm, but it also highly contagious, so using combs, bedding, or other objects that have been used by an infected person puts you at risk of developing the condition. Aside from itchy patches on the scalp which result in hair breaking away, other symptoms of tinea capitis include, brittle hair, a painful scalp, swollen lymph nodes and a minor fever. However, in more severe cases, it is not uncommon to develop crusty swellings called kerion, which leads to permanent bald spots and scarring.
In terms of treatment, fungi-killing oral medication and medicated shampoo are normally prescribed by a GP. The course of medication normally lasts for around six weeks, but you probably will not see any visible results for at least a month.
Usually occurring after a traumatic event/a stressful period of time, telogen effluvium is a form of temporary hair loss. Unlike alopecia, which is generally permanent, telogen effluvium causes hair to fall out, but grows back naturally with time. With this condition, it is unlikely for a person to lose all of their hair and instead, it will just appear noticeably thin. This condition is usually triggered by a disturbance to the hair cycle, which has three phases:
Telogen effluvium is associated with the telogen phase. To put this into perspective, around 5 to 10 percent of a person’s hair is in the telogen phase at any one time. With this disease, the anagen phase slows down, which means fewer hairs can enter the next two all-important stages. As a result, only around 30 percent of hair follicles move into the telogen phase, causing hair shedding.
Treatment for telogen effluvium varies depending on what is triggering the hair loss, but it could be any of the following:
Turning hair loss into personal gain
No matter what your age or gender, losing your hair can be an utterly heartbreaking experience. Although we specialise in providing our clients with bespoke hairstyles, we acknowledge that no hairstyle will ever be able to compete with natural beauty. So, if you find yourself suffering from hair loss, we encourage you to embrace your new look, feel confident and constantly remind yourself that you are not defined by your appearance.