Alopecia Causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Alopecia. Causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Many of us have noticed that hair tends to fall out. We attribute this fact to various reasons – a lack of vitamins caused by the off-season, improperly selected cosmetics or shampoos, or maybe it’s just a result of natural renewal – old hair falls out, new hair grows.
Indeed, hair loss is a normal physiological phenomenon. The life cycle of a hair is 3-6 years on average (it depends on external factors and heredity), then the hair falls out and a new hair grows in its place. This renewal process in its normal course should be invisible and unnoticeable. Visually, the number of hairs remains the same, and the number of hairs that have fallen out should be insignificant.
So what to do if the process of hair loss gets out of control, and the appearance of obvious gaps on the scalp begins not only to cause a sense of doubt, but definitely alarming? The answer is obvious – the cause is not cosmetics or a lack of vitamins.
There are many different causes of baldness. In addition to external factors that traumatize the hair follicles, there are other causes – various diseases such as thyroid, gastrointestinal tract, female reproductive system and others. Increased hair loss caused by these or other causes is called in medicine alopecia.
What is alopecia?
For example, the AhealthyMan website says that alopecia means “baldness” in Greek. It is an unnatural loss of hair that results in the loss of hair on the head as well as on other parts of the body. The loss can be either partial or complete. Most commonly, baldness affects the scalp.
Each hair grows from a follicle (this is a hair follicle – a root with surrounding tissues consisting of 20 different types of cells with different functions). First, the hair is in an active growth stage – this phase is called anagen and lasts up to 5 years.
Then comes the second and shortest phase – catagen (end of active hair growth), which lasts up to four weeks. In this phase, the follicle enters the resting stage, and hair growth stops.
After the follicle “falls asleep”, the final phase begins – the resting stage of the follicle, which is called telogen. The hair follicle stops nourishing the hair; it continues to stay in the follicle for about 6-8 weeks, and then it falls out. Once again, the first phase of anagen begins – the rested follicle forms new hair again.
Each follicle, and there are tens of thousands of them on the head, has its own rhythm and rate of phase change, so hair is constantly growing and falling out. On average, about 90% of all hair is in the anagen phase, and 8% is in the final phase, which explains the normal process of hair loss.
The average rate of hair loss is 80 to 150 hairs per day. If this amount is significantly higher than the norm, it is recommended to consult a trichologist.
Diseases associated with hair loss are not only common, but also socially significant. Hair is especially important for women, as it is a symbol of beauty and health. Loss of hair affects women’s state of mind very deeply. However, men are also often affected by hair loss in a painful way and men are more often affected by it. About 95% of men suffer from hair loss problems.
Statistics show that every third inhabitant of the globe suffers from hair or scalp problems, and about 90% of the population of our country is dissatisfied with their hair condition! Of all the problems addressed to a specialist, 80% are increased hair loss, and only 20% are various other diseases such as psoriasis, dandruff, seborrhea.
How common is alopecia among women? Here too, the statistics are disappointing – 79% of women experience problems with increased hair loss as they age.
Thus, most men and women show signs of alopecia as they age. Of these, only 10% go to a doctor for help, although in most cases the problem of alopecia can and should be treated!