Hair loss, which is medically referred to as alopecia, is a normal part of life. Everybody loses some hair each day, and even greater amounts of hair loss are not uncommon in many people. For example, many men experience a receding hairline and baldness as they age. Normal hair loss can be caused by other factors, as well.
Sometimes, however, major hair loss can be a warning sign that something is wrong with the body. Hair loss that's accompanied by other health problems should be discussed with your doctor.
Causes of Hair Loss
The hair loss that most people think about in men is known as male-pattern baldness. This type of baldness is inherited from family members, and it’s a normal part of aging. Other times, hair loss may be an indicator that your hormones are out of balance because of an underactive or overactive thyroid gland. In these situations, correcting the hormone imbalance may help with hair loss. Another type of hormone-related hair loss often occurs in women about three months after having a baby, although this type of hair loss will often correct itself as the hormones normalize.
In some cases, hair loss can be a warning sign that you have a more serious, underlying disease. Diabetes and lupus are two such diseases that can lead to hair loss. Fungal infections can also cause hair loss, as can some medications and treatments, such as chemotherapy.
For normal hair loss, such as male-pattern baldness, no treatment is necessary, though there are medications and therapies available for men who want to try to keep their hair as they age. Other types of hair loss may cease once the underlying cause is treated. For example, hair loss caused by medication may be remedied by switching to a different medicine, and those with hormonal imbalances may see their hair loss stop or hair grow back in as the hormonal imbalance is treated.
SOURCES: American Academy of Dermatology; American Academy of Family Physicians
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