MEDICAL CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS
Each day all of us shed approximately 50-100 hairs daily which is just part of the normal hair cycle. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are many causes of hair loss. Women may notice hair loss after giving birth. People under a lot of stress can see noticeable hair loss. Some diseases and medical treatments can cause hair loss.
The most common cause of hair loss is a medical condition called hereditary hair loss. About 80 million men and women in the United States have this type of hair loss. Other names for this type of hair loss are:
- Male-pattern baldness.
- Female-pattern baldness.
- Androgenetic alopecia.
Hair loss can also be classified as focal which is confined to a specific region or area of the scalp or diffuse involving the entire scalp. Dermatological conditions which are causes of focal alopecia include alopecia areata, tinea capitis, traction alopecia, and trichotillomania. Diffuse alopecia is more common in conditions such as alopecia totalis, alopecia universalis, and telogen effluvium. These are conditions that are best diagnosed by a dermatologist who can provide treatment which may reverse the hair loss.
Certain medical illnesses may also result in hair loss including thyroid dysfunction manifesting as either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Hormone changes associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can also cause hair loss. Autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) may present with alopecia.
Numerous drugs can cause alopecia as a side effect. These include drugs used for chemotherapy, blood pressure medications, thyroid disorders, acne, seizures, thinning the blood have all been implicated in hair loss. Nutritional disorders like excess Vitamin A ingestion and deficiencies of Iron and Zinc are also less commonly associated with hair loss.
In addition, there are numerous underlying dermatological conditions of the skin and scalp which can result in significant hair loss. These include alopecia areata, tinea capitis, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis to name a few.
Physical stress associated with fever, surgery, and weight loss can cause hair loss of a temporary nature by causing scalp hairs to enter a resting state resulting in hair loss several months after the event. Psychological stress may cause a patient to pull on their hair or twist it repeatedly causing a loss of hair most often in the pediatric population.
At La Jolla Hair MD, we are unique in that our hair restoration practice combines the expertise of two physicians with complimentary specialties and areas of focus to offer patients a comprehensive treatment plan for hair loss. Dr. Chaffoo is a triple board certified plastic surgeon and directs the hair restoration practice along with Dr. Stuart who is a board certified dermatologist and expert in the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss due to medical conditions.
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