Hair loss is a prevalent condition that can happen to anyone. Besides, it’s very normal to lose some amount of hair from time to time. Also, some hair loss can be gradual or happen abruptly, while others are permanent or temporary, depending on the causes.Losing small amounts of hair may be unnoticeable. However, excessive hair loss causes an alarm and would require that you visit your doctor to help determine the cause of your hair loss.Sure, your hair loss may be due to hormonal changes, hereditary nature, and medications used to treat some health conditions like cancer. Some hair loss may be triggered by physical or emotional shock, like those related to the death of a family member or extreme weight loss.
In this post, we look at some of the medical conditions and diseases that cause hair loss and manage them.
But first, let’s find more about hair loss
What is hair loss?
Also known as alopecia, it refers to the loss of hair in the head or the entire body. Some of the hair loss would be severe, depending on the cause. And sometimes, the cause of hair loss in males may vary from those of females.
But you should be in a position to identify when you’re losing hair and go for a checkup. This would ensure better management of any condition.
So how do you know you have hair loss?
Here are some common signs and symptoms of hair loss
- The gradual thinning on the top of your head– this is a common sign of hair loss to the aged. In men, hair loss would begin to recede at the forehead’s hairline. At the same time, women would have an increasing or broadening hairline.
- Patchy or circular bald spots– some people may experience hair circular or patchy bald spots on their scalp, eyebrows, or beard. And sometimes, your skin would be painful or itchy before the hair falls out.
- Sudden hair loss– conditions like physical or emotional shock can cause overall hair thinning, which would fall out.
- Scaling patches that spread all over your body– if you have undiagnosed ringworms, you may start experiencing broken hair, swelling, and oozing of hair.
It can be hard to know the amount of hair you have lost. However, it would be imperative to check with your doctor if you realize you’re losing more hair than usual. Otherwise, you may be suffering from some medical or diseases that are not yet diagnosed.
So what are some of the health conditions or diseases that can cause hair loss?
Medical conditions that cause hair loss
Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disorder that causes unpredictable hair loss.
What causes Alopecia areata?
The condition happens when there is an attack by the white blood cells on the hair follicles, forcing them to shrink or dramatically slow down hair production.
This condition (Alopecia areata) would cause your hair to fall out in small patches. It then results in sudden hair loss, which in some cases occurs on the scalp, your eyebrows, eyelashes or face, and other body parts.
The condition can develop slowly, but it would also recur after some years between instances. The infections can also lead to total body hair loss in a person. This is known as Alopecia Universalis, and it can prevent your hair from growing back.
On rare occasions, you may experience extensive hair loss, which may indicate another type of alopecia called alopecia totalis- which is the loss of hair on the scalp.
Treatment of Alopecia areata
There is currently no treatment for this condition.
So can you cope with Alopecia areata?
It’s common for people with alopecia to be emotionally challenged; some may feel isolated or depressed significantly when the condition has affected the entire scalp.
To help cope with the condition, your doctor may prescribe medications that would help your hair grow faster. They may include Minoxidil and Anthralin. These medications can promote your hair growth; they would never prevent the development and formation of new patches.
Also known as a dermatophyte infection, ringworm is an infection of the skin caused by a different type of fungi such as. Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton.
The ringworm infection also spread through contact with infected humans and animals. It is commonly spread among the children who are common with sharing items that harbor the fungus.
Here are different types of ringworms;
Tinea capitis- the ringworm of the scalp that starts as an isolate scaling would develop into scaly, itchy bald patches in the head.
Tinea corporis- ringworm that affects the general body. They often appear as patches in round shape.
Doctors would recommend both lifestyle adjustments and medications to help curb or control ringworm. Over-the-counter drugs like antifungal skin creams that contain miconazole and terbinafine may be used as well.
Cancer, high blood pressure, and depression
Some hair loss would result from the medication used to manage or treat cancer like chemotherapy, high blood pressure, and depression, among other health conditions.
In such cases, you have little control over the hair loss because you have to take different medications to manage your health condition.
However, your doctor may recommend some drugs that would help in faster hair growth. That is if the loss is temporary. Also some people living with HIV may experience hair loss, though not a direct symptom of the virus.
Hair loss is average when it’s in smaller quantities. However, heavy loss of hair may be a result of diseases like ringworm and alopecia areata. Or side effects of medications used to treat some health conditions like cancer, depression, and high blood pressure, among others.