The term ‘Alopecia’ refers to hair loss regardless of the etiology. Alopecia or hair loss is a form of hair fall that is not exclusive to the scalp; it can be anywhere on the human body. Alopecia can affect both males and females. The pattern of hair loss may vary from the bald patches to more subtle, such as diffuse hair loss. Alopecia can be temporary or permanent.
Hair loss or Alopecia is not life-threatening, but it is distressing and significantly affects the individual’s quality of life.1,2
The pathogenesis of alopecia is asynchronous. Androgenetic alopecia, as the name depicts has a clear genetic predisposition. Research confers that this type of hair loss pattern is a polygenic disorder with variables, and both mother and father genes are involved. There is a familial predisposition to androgenetic alopecia with sons at a five to six times higher relative risk if their fathers were balding. Both hormone metabolism and androgen receptors play a key role in the pattern of alopecia.8
The growth and loss of hair may seem like a simple process, but hair growth and regeneration is a cyclic process encompassing three distinct stages:
Alopecia can be subcategorized into scarring and non-scarring alopecia.
A) Scarring alopecia includes
B) The non-scarring alopecia can be subdivided into six major categories; wherein, the most common type of non-scarring alopecia is
Hair loss is a common condition, it can affect every individual differently depending on the etiology. The general symptoms of hair loss include gradually thinning of hair, scaling of the skin of the scalp, bald spots in patches, sudden loosening of hairs, and or broken hair.1,3,5-10.
Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what's causing it. It can suddenly or gradually affect just your scalp or your whole body (Figure 2).
Signs and symptoms of hair loss may include:
Hair loss is typically related to one or more of the following factors: Hair loss has many causes. Regardless of whether it develops in a man or woman, it is vital to evaluate the actual etiological factor as it can help the clinician prescribe the right treatment. Following are a few commonly known etiological factors of hair loss9:-
Medications and supplements. Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure.
Radiation therapy to the head. The hair may not grow back the same as it was before.
A very stressful event. Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary.
Hairstyles and treatments. Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Hot-oil hair treatments and permanents also can cause hair to fall out. If scarring occurs, hair loss could be permanent.
Several factors can increase your risk of hair loss, including:
Most baldness is caused by genetics (male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness). This type of hair loss is not preventable.
These tips may help you avoid preventable types of hair loss:
Owing to the non-specific nature and clinical manifestations of Hair loss/ Alopecia, prompt diagnosis is very important to prevent undesirable outcomes. Dr. Dangs Lab recommends comprehensive tests for optimal hair health including (Table-1):-
There are multiple ways to treat and manage hair loss. Hair loss management solely depends on the underlying cause and the symptoms that an individual experiences. Regardless of gender, the first line of treatment by default is through medication that is prescribed by a dermatologist/ hair -specialist/ clinician. Moreover, the second line of treatment comes into effect only the first line of treatment, i.e. medications fail. Depending on the cause and severity the clinician may opt for medical or surgical procedures like hair transplant surgery.3-9
The term alopecia means hair loss regardless of the cause. It is not exclusive to the scalp; it can be anywhere on the body. Everyone is born with hundreds of thousands of hair on the head. Losing hair is not usually anything to be worried about, but it can be upsetting. Patients with alopecia are at increased risk of psychosocial complications of hair loss such as anxiety and depression. At the same time, these patients need to be assessed for other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid conditions, vitiligo, etc. Prompt Diagnostic testing enables health providers to swiftly identify the etiological factor and in facilitating appropriate treatment.
Publisher’s name- Dr. Dangs Lab
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion.