People who suffer from chronic or short-term illnesses often suffer from hair fall and hair loss. More often than not, the underlying diseases lead to a temporary loss of hair (Telogen Effluvium). Let’s take a look at some of the diseases, which may lead to hair loss in both men and women.
1. Diabetes and Hair Loss
Diabetes is known for taking a toll on the body in many ways. For instance, it affects the circulatory system and restricts blood circulation to the scalp. This negatively affects the hair follicles, which start dying and this leads to hair loss. It also prevents the growth of new hair. Even drugs that are used to treat diabetes play a crucial role in aiding hair loss.
Diabetes also wreaks havoc on the immune system of the body, which makes it susceptible to other diseases that may induce hair fall.
2. Alopecia Areata
An autoimmune disease, Alopecia Areata leads to hair loss not only on the scalp, but all over the body. In this condition, the hair falls out in small, random patches. This is because the immune system of the body attacks the hair follicles and this results in hair loss on the scalp and also, on the other parts of the body.
Although the root cause of Alopecia Areata isn’t known, but it is speculated that people with a family history of other autoimmune diseases are more likely to suffer from it. There is no cure for this disease but with the right treatment, the hair can grow back.
In extreme cases, the patient can suffer from Alopecia Totalis (complete baldness) or Alopecia Universalis (complete loss of hair all over the body).
The severity of hair loss and growth can differ from person to person.
3. Lupus and Hair Loss
Lupus or Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic disease. It has a wide range of symptoms, which is quite similar to other health problems. This is why it is also given the moniker “great imitator” as people confuse it with other diseases.
Lupus affects the skin and the joints, vital organs like kidneys, lungs, heart and the brain. The symptoms may be flu-like and the patients suffer from joint pains, fatigue, fever, depression and recurring infections.
It also affects the hair, which becomes brittle and tends to fall out in patches. Sometimes, short and broken hair known as “Lupus Hair” may appear above the forehead.
The hair loss in Lupus is not permanent.
4. Thyroid Malfunction and Hair Loss
People who suffer from Thyroid problems such as Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can also suffer from hair loss as a side-effect.
The Thyroid hormones secreted by the Thyroid gland are responsible for regulating the energy levels and creation of new cells. Each and every part of the body requires these hormones to function properly, even the hair follicles that are responsible for new hair growth. Thus, with an overactive or underactive Thyroid gland, people start losing their hair gradually, which begins with hair thinning. Hyperthyroidism leads to thinning of hair all over the scalp and Hypothyroidism leads to extreme hair loss on the scalp and sometimes, on other parts of the body. The disease may also lead to a dry, itchy scalp and brittle hair.
Note: Taking Thyroid medications can also lead to temporary hair loss.
5. Cancer and Hair Loss
The common treatments for cancer – chemotherapy and radiation therapy can both lead to hair loss.
Chemotherapy in particular targets the rapidly dividing cells in the body and this not only includes the malignant cancer cells, but also the healthy cells. These healthy cells include hair follicles, which are amongst the fastest growing cells in the body. These cells are destroyed within weeks of starting chemotherapy and as a result, the patients lose some or all of their hair. Depending upon the drug, other treatments and the duration of the treatments, the hair loss can be on the scalp or other parts of the body and vary in terms of the severity.
Radiotherapy usually causes localized hair loss, which can be permanent in nature. This means that the patient loses hair only on the part of the body, where radiotherapy is being administered.
6. Diseases of the Pituitary Gland
The Pituitary gland is responsible for the secretion of important hormones. For instance, it secretes Growth Hormone and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, which are in a way responsible for hair growth. A lack of these hormones affects hair growth adversely and leads to hair loss, which is also one of the symptoms of diseases of the Pituitary gland.
7. Dandruff (Seborrheic Dermatitis) and Hair Loss
Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis can occur all over the body but most commonly, it affects the scalp. Caused by a yeast – Malassezia, dandruff causes itchy, scaly plaques on the scalp. It can lead to hair loss, particularly when people suffering from dandruff itch their scalp. This hair loss is not permanent in nature and goes away as soon as the scalp is treated for dandruff.
These are some of the common diseases that lead to hair loss in both men and women. Share your thoughts on the same via your comments.