Hair diseases are common in both men and women. The problem is prevalent all over the world. There are several factors responsible for hair loss. The causes of hair loss diseases may vary from person to person.
The factors causing hair loss include genetics, ailment, malnutrition, stress, some medication and hormonal imbalance. One cause of hair loss is hormonal imbalance and it may result in pattern baldness, a major hair disease causing hair loss.
Common hair diseases
The common hair diseases causing hair loss include the following:
Pattern baldness – Also known as pattern hair loss/pattern balding, it is a hair problem common in both males and females across the globe. The medical term for the problem is androgenetic alopecia.
Among men, the disease causes hair loss in a well-defined pattern. It starts above both the temples, and ultimately the hairline recedes to form a characteristic “M” shape. Hair loss is also witnessed at the crown (near the top of the head).
Among the women, the disease causes hair thinning all over the head. However, the hair line does not recede. Total baldness resulting from androgenetic alopecia is rare among women.
The disease is likely to be caused by a number of genetic and environmental factors. A particular group of hormones called androgens is related to this problem. Especially a particular androgen hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the main cause of this problem. Increase in DHT concentration causes changes in the scalp hair growth dynamics and it results in pattern baldness.
Hypotrichosis – It refers to the condition where there has never been any hair growth. It differs from the situation where there is hair loss in a spot once having hair. In hypotrichosis the affected area is completely bald for the entire life right from birth.
The general causes of hypotrichosis are genetic aberrations or embryonic development defects. The common forms of Hypotrichosis are aplasia cutis congenital, triangular alopecia and congenital atrichia.
Alopecia areata – Alopecia areata is another prominent member of the hair loss diseases. This autoimmune skin disease is highly unpredictable in nature and it affects not only the scalp but also the other hair growing areas of the body. Everybody irrespective of sex and age is vulnerable to this disease.
In alopecia areata the person’s own immune system (white blood cells) attacks, mistakenly, the affected hair follicles. It results in end of the hair growth stage. The problem starts with one or more small, round, smooth bald patches on the scalp. Then slowly it affects the entire scalp.
The problem is called alopecia totalis when it covers the entire scalp and is called alopecia universalis when it affects the entire body.
Seborrheic dermatitis – It is basically a skin problem. However, it can also cause temporary hair loss. The problem is referred to as ‘cradle cup’ in infants. But it is only during the puberty that the condition becomes evident.
The problem is generally found among the young people. It is rare in middle age. But it again becomes common among the 50 plus people.
It is more common in men than in women. It is notable that seborrheic dermatitis is unusually high among AIDS patients. The problem is seemingly caused by a genetic component. One disputed cause is the species of Malassezia yeasts. Changes in humidity or seasonal changes also commonly aggravate the disease.
Telogen effluvium (TE) – This abnormal hair loss condition is caused by alteration of normal hair growth cycle. The alteration can be caused by various factors. The disease causes a greater proportion of hairs enter the resting phase of the cycle and hair shedding is more than normal.
The affected person suffers from diffuse thinning of hair on the scalp. Thinning is not uniform. Rather it is more severe in some areas than the others. Usually the hair on top of the scalp thins more than it does at the sides and back. Usually the hair line does not recede, except in a few rare cases of chronic telogen effluvium.
Chronic telogen effluvium affects the other hair bearing areas of the body like eyebrows and pubic hair. Irrespective of the hair loss pattern, telogen efflivium is fully reversible as hair follicles are not permanently affected.
General causes of hair loss include vaccinations, physical trauma, surgery and medicine intake. Hormonal imbalance can also result in this problem. Inadequate diet can also trigger telogen effluvium. For example, a reduced intake of red meat (a key source of iron) is supposed to be a cause of this disease.
Stress also plays a crucial role in stress. In some cases depression and sudden intense anxiety may also cause hair loss.