Diseases That May Lead to Hair Loss

What Diseases Can Cause Hair Loss?

alopecia areata hair lossMost people experience hair loss in the second phase of their lives. Hair loss and graying are typical aging symptoms, although not everyone is affected by it. Hair loss is usually a gradual process, but occasionally you may experience rapid hair loss. If you find large number of hair falling when taking a shower, there must be something ‘abnormal’ about your hair.

In many cases, a disease is responsible for speeding up the process of hair loss. Which diseases can cause hair loss? Hair loss can caused by a variety of factors, from various illnesses to poor nutrition to hormonal imbalances and stress. Certainly drastic operations and the repercussions that these have on your body can cause acute hair loss. 

Hair loss can also be caused by the use of certain medications and medical treatments. Vitamin A poisoning and a shortage of iron can also be the cause of your hair loss.

Sometimes hair loss occurs due to a condition involving hair itself, such as alopecia, which causes permanent hair loss.  It is always advisable to consult your physician if strong hair loss occurs. It is recommended that the cause of hair loss be determined so that appropriate treatment can be started.

Here are some diseases that lead to Hair Loss

Thyroid disorders and hair loss

Hormones are produced in the thyroid gland. These hormones regulate the energy consumption of cells in the body and thus the metabolism of the body. In addition, they also regulate hair growth and other body functions. Loss of hair can occur when the thyroid works too fast or too slow. Medication to treat thyroid disorder that acts too fast or too slow can also cause hair loss.

Diabetes and hair loss

Because diabetes causes issues in blood circulation, this can lead to hair loss. Hair strands grow for a period of two to six years, after which they fall out. When the blood does not circulate properly in people having diabetes, hair follicles do not produce new hair. Hair also tend to fall out when there is no blood circulation in the scalp. This leads to thinning  of hair because there is more hair loss than usual and the fallen hair are not replaced by new ones.

Pituitary gland and hair loss

Melatonin is produced by the pituitary gland. This hormone is produced under the influence of sun. A lower concentration is present in dark days. Cell division is influenced by melatonin. This cell division is faster in the summer. Cell division is slower when there is little melatonin present in the body. Hair loss due to low melatonin can therefore be a temporary consequence.

Lupus erythematosus and hair loss

Lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disorder in which the skin and various internal organs can be affected. Hair loss can be a consequence of this disease. There may also be a hypersensitivity reaction of the skin. Lupus erythematosus occurs roughly in about 1 in 1,000 people. This disease is more common in women than in men. It occurs almost 9 times more often than in men and usually begins between the age of 10 to 30.

Autoimmune disorders and hair loss

A little less known condition is the alopecia areata or ‘spotless baldness’. After androgenetic alopecia, however, this is the most common form of hair loss in the world. It is a condition in which round or oval-shaped bald spots develop quite suddenly in the hairy areas. Alopecia areata can occur at any age, in both men and women. The scientists do not yet fully agree on the possible causes of alopecia areata. There may also be a hereditary factor here. It is also suspected that certain autoimmune diseases (diseases caused by the production of antibodies against parts of the body, in this case the hair roots) can play a role

Mental illness and hair loss

There is a mental disorder in which someone is pulled out of their hair. Tractionalopecia is called “hair disease”. The hair loss is caused by compulsive hair pulling out. This is not really a hair loss condition because the hair does not fall out.

Medication and hair loss

Medication such as chemotherapy (combating cancer) often also causes hair loss. Use of more medication can lead to hair loss. The following medicines have hair loss as a side effect.

  • Anticoagulants
  • Tretinoin derivatives
  • Medications against malaria
  • Sex hormones
  • Cholesterol lowering agents
  • Corticosteroids
  • Lithium carbonate
  • Anti epileptics
  • TNF alpha inhibitors
  • Proton pump inhibitors

Hair loss due to stress

Significant emotional events or periods of increased stress can also lead to hair loss. Although scientists in the case of alopecia areata do not fully agree about this connection, this has already been proven for various other types of hair loss. For example, alopecia diffusa, diffused hair loss, has a scientifically established connection with psychological factors such as extreme stress. Telogen effluvium – the most common form of alopecia diffusa – appears to be caused and aggravated by stress.

Hair loss after surgery

Drastic operations and the repercussions that they have on your body can cause acute hair loss. Usually after such surgeries, air follicles are disrupted and  hair falls out. The hair loss that occurs after an operation is usually only temporary and your hair will grow back again.

Treatment for Suddent Hair Loss

Sudden hair loss may indicate an underlying condition or disease. However, there are so many different disorders that can trigger such hair loss, that it is difficult to give a complete list of them. It is striking, however, that sudden loss of hair often occurs in combination with infections (alopecia parvimaculata or alopecia symptomatica). Examples of these are ulcers, abscesses, shingles and scabies. Other possible culprits may be muzinosis (alopecia mucinosa) and syphilis (alopecia specifia), as well as metabolic diseases or a malfunctioning thyroid gland. Because hair loss can be an indication of a disease or condition, it is advisable to visit the doctor to make a good diagnosis.

Hair loss caused by medication, a medical treatment or a hair condition is difficult to prevent. A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet can, however, reduce the chance of your hair loss. Avoid prolonged exposure to stress and be kind to your scalp and hair. Let your hair dry naturally after washing, preventing the use of hot hair dryers. Choose the right hair care products and treat yourself with a scalp massage once in a while. This improves the circulation of the skin, which benefits the hair follicles.