Most people experience this problem as they age. However, people are discovering that their hair is becoming finer, bald areas have emerged and the scalp is clearly visible when looking in the mirror. This not only affects men, it affects women too – of all ages, including children and teenagers!
Alopecia is the medical term used to describe baldness. For many men and women experiencing alopecia, can be emotionally devastating and traumatic. The quality of life is often affected, which may lead to depression and severe anxiety.
This condition can affect any body part that is covered with hair including the scalp, eyebrows, beard or pubic area. There are several types of male or female hair loss that are classified by the cause. Some are permanent while other types are temporary.
Permanent hair loss can be classified by the following:
-The pattern baldness in men, also known as androgenetic, usually affects men in their teens or early 20s. Androgenetic alopecia is distinguished by having hair on the sides of the head and balding on top.
-The pattern baldness in women, also known as androgenetic. It is rare that complete hair loss for women – can lose hair in patches and generally only begin to thin in the front, sides or crown.
-Alopecia (as scars) also known as scarring alopecia. This type of hair loss destroys the hair follicle and the follicle is replaced by scar tissue – causes persistent alopecia. Sometimes, there are no symptoms and hair loss is gradual. In other cases, itching, burning or pain may occur. If the scalp is affected, some flakes and redness may be evident.
Temporary hair loss
-Area tends to occur in small, round bald spots. Hair loss or bald patches usually occur on the scalp but can also affect other areas such as eyebrows, eyelashes or beard. If hair loss occurs at a point only, usually in the head, called alopecia areata monolocularis. If the hair is lost in the whole scalp is alopecia totalis. If hair loss occurs in the whole body, including pubic hair, this condition is called alopecia universalis
-Telogen effluvium is a condition characterized by sudden loss of hair as a result of a disruption in the normal growth cycle of hair. Hair begin to thin and fall usually from the scalp, which is more sensitive when you wash or comb your hair.
-Traction alopecia occurs as a result of certain hairstyles such as braids, tight ponytails, cornrows, buns, rolls or twists that are used regularly. It is caused by pulling (traction chronic) the hair follicle and samples of this type of involve tension headaches, itchy scalp, red, bald patches at random and hair breakage around the scalp
The causes of specific types of alopecia include:
-The pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) occurs as a result of heredity factors. It affects the age at which you start to get bald, pattern, speed of development and degree of hair loss
-Alopecia (scarring that) scar is permanent and occurs when the hair follicle is scarred and damaged by inflammation. This condition appears in many conditions of skin disease.
-Alopecia areata is defined as an autoimmune disease. It is believed that genetic factors may make it develop.
-Telogen effluvium is caused by a change to your normal cycle as a result of physical or emotional stress (high fever, weight loss, loss of a family member, nutritional deficiencies or surgery)
-Traction alopecia is due to the hairstyles that pull your hair back too tightly or excessive hairstyling
Other factors that may contribute include poor nutrition, certain medications, diseases such as diabetes and lupus as well as medical treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Hormonal changes such as pregnancy, menopause, an active thyroid or vagu and infections of the scalp can cause hair loss.
A hair-pulling disorder known as trichotillomania is a mental illness that makes people have the irresistible urge to pull hair from your scalp or any other area of your body. In addition, hair treatments such as bleaching, dyeing, tightening braiding or hot curlers can cause scarring and hair follicles of hair reduction.
Diagnosis of Alopecia
The diagnosis of alopecia is based on your physical symptoms, family and medical history. Your doctor will want to know the pattern and rate of hair loss.
Certain tests can also be performed to determine the cause of hair loss and to classify it:
-Pull test where several hairs to see how many are thrown out
-The skin scrapings involve a sample of skin or hairs taken from the scalp to determine if an infection is the cause of hair loss
-The biopsy involves removing a small section of the deer layers of the skin (this test is usually done when it is difficult to confirm a diagnosis)
-Other health tests to determine whether other diseases cause hair loss