Health Care and Baldness

- November 05, 2013
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Many people worry about losing their hair, especially if they are going through certain medical procedures or illnesses that can cause loss of the hair on their head. However, some baldness is caused by the body’s reaction to some drug therapies, and some is due to genetics. Also, aging has an effect on losing your hair. There are multiple reasons that cause baldness.

According to the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, baldness, also known as alopecia, is hair loss, or absence of hair. Baldness is usually most noticeable on the scalp, but can occur anywhere on the body where hair grows. The condition is more common in men than in women. Hair loss is believed to be primarily caused by a combination of the following:

·         Aging
·         Change in hormones
·         Illness
·         Family history of baldness
·         Burns
·         Trauma
·         Untreated ringworm of the scalp
·         Deficiency in iron or protein intake
·         Excess vitamin A intake
·         Rapid weight loss
·         However, hair loss is not caused by the following:
·         Poor circulation to the scalp
·         Dandruff
·         Excessive hat-wearing

Generally, the earlier hair loss begins, the more severe the baldness will become. According to Time Magazine, turning hair growth on its head — by transplanting hair follicles upside down — may provide hope for receding hairlines. Growing hair to cure baldness has always been a question.
It’s one of the more vexing problems in medicine — about half of men and women over age 50 experience hair loss, from thinning of their scalp to male pattern baldness. Their options, however, are few. Medications can only slow the rate of loss, without generating lush new growth, while surgical strategies essentially move hair-growing cells from one part of the scalp to another, with varying success. The ideal solution would be one that prompts defective hair follicles to sprout new hair, or that allows transplanted follicles to have a greater chance of laying down roots. More info is at this site:  

A full head of hair is associated with strength, virility, youth, and power. Though men aren't encouraged to openly discuss their emotional reaction to hair loss, it's there. Frustration, depression, loss of self-esteem, social withdrawal, even suicide. It's not just about looks, although that's certainly a part of it; it's about a loss of control, the passage of time, mortality. "When men lose their hair, it can be devastating," says Spencer Kobren, founder and president of the American Hair Loss Association and founder of

Kobren says, "Most guys would do just about anything to keep from going bald. We'd rather regrow our hair than lose body fat. If you told a balding guy he could keep his hair if he were to run five miles a day and eat a specific diet, he'd absolutely do it. An overweight guy? Maybe. Hair is different." More information about male baldness can be found at this website: 

Conventional treatments focus on promoting hair growth or hiding hair loss. First priority should be to recognize and treat identifiable causes of hair loss, such as medications, infections, nutritional deficiencies, medical conditions or hormonal imbalances.

Certain drug treatments may help to slow or prevent the development of pattern baldness in men or women, according to Dr. Andrew Weil. Minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine), is available without a prescription and is used for pattern baldness and alopecia areata. It is directly applied as a liquid or foam to the scalp. New hair growth may be shorter and thinner than normal but sufficient enough to hide bald spots or blend with existing hair. It may take several weeks to notice an effect, and new hair growth slows down soon after you stop taking it.

Another drug, Finasteride (brand name: Propecia), is available by prescription only. It comes in pill form and is only indicated for men, as it poses a serious danger to women of child-bearing age - even skin contact can result in absorption of the drug and lead to birth defects in pregnant women. It works by stopping the conversion of testosterone into DHT.

Steroid injections are sometimes used as a suppressive treatment for patches of alopecia areata. Ointments and creams can also be used, but aren't as effective. Another topical treatment consists of using Anthralin ointment, a synthetic substance made from tar used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, that may stimulate hair growth in those with autoimmune hair loss. Surgical treatments involving hair transplantation or scalp reduction are often a last resort but may be effective in the right candidate, although they can be expensive. Much more information about baldness can be found at Dr. Weil’s website:
It is important to know what is causing the hair loss and become educated about the available treatment options, according to the American Ostheopathic Association.  Hair loss is caused when the hair follicle gradually becomes smaller, which results in shorter and finer hair and eventually no hair. While genetics does play a role in male pattern hair loss, the gene can come from either parent, not just the mother. In addition, males who experience hair loss usually have a high presence of endocrine hormones.

Symptoms of male pattern baldness may begin appearing in men as young as 20 years old and can consist of thinning hair; a receding hairline, usually from the front toward the back over time; loss of hair around the crown of the head; or progression of hair loss in a typical “M”-shaped pattern. “Unfortunately, there is no cure for male pattern hair loss,” says Dr. Phillip Ginsberg. “But, there are treatments available that may help to slow down the process or even make new hair grow.”

Baldness is common in many people, male and female, but even though it may cause embarrassment, you can embrace various options to help slow the process in many cases. And, you an even decide to go all with complete baldness and exuding a strong physical presence, especially for males. Women are much less apt to go hairless, but can use wigs and other methods to hide bald spots. Baldness is something that almost everyone sooner or later may deal with as part of the aging process.
Until next time.

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