Can Hair Loss Be a Sign of Something More Serious?
Hair loss is a condition experienced by millions worldwide. There are several reasons why one experiences hair loss, such as stress, medications, bad diet, excessive smoking, illnesses, hormonal imbalance, age, and family history. As per the American Academy of Dermatology, up to 80 million people in the United States are affected by hair loss due to family genes – a condition commonly known as androgenetic alopecia.
However, sometimes, there can be a possibility that your hair loss could be a symptom of an underlying health issue. Usually, in such cases, hair loss is accompanied by a host of other symptoms, including lethargy, muscle pain, skin rashes, weight loss/gain, fever, etc.
Let’s have a look at the causes and symptoms that could be warning signs your hair loss is something more serious:
1. Malnourishment or lack of nutrients
If your hair loss occurs along with symptoms such as lethargy, tiredness, or feeling sluggish, you may be having a deficiency of certain nutrients. For instance, if your body has zinc deficiency, you may also experience symptoms like weight loss, diarrhea, and lack of energy. Similarly, iron deficiency can cause symptoms like tiredness, brittle nails, hair loss, chest pain, and more. Hair loss can also occur as a result of malnourishment. Make sure you consume a diet rich in proteins and nutrients, such as fruits, green vegetables, nuts, and ample water.
If you have been experiencing muscle aches along with hair loss, you might be suffering from a type of autoimmune hormonal imbalance called hypothyroidism. More common in women than men, this condition occurs due to reduced amounts of thyroid hormones being released into the bloodstream. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, muscle pain, thinning hair, low heart rate, fatigue, constipation, and hoarseness, among others. However, your doctor can suggest medications to treat this condition and replenish the thyroid hormones in the body.
3. Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes the hair to fall out from the scalp, the face, and at times, from other parts of the body. This condition occurs when the immune system starts attacking the hair follicles, believing them to be dangerous, causing the hair to fall out. It causes small, circular bald patches on the scalp or other parts of the body. While Alopecia totalis results in complete hair loss from the scalp, Areata Universalis results in hair loss across the entire body, including the scalp, face, and even pubic hair.
Lupus is another type of autoimmune disease that occurs due to the body’s immune system attacking its cells and tissues. This results in an inflammation that can damage various organs, including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, heart, and blood. The key symptoms of Lupus are skin rashes, fever, hair loss, swollen joints, along with fever, fatigue, body aches, headaches, shortness of breath, and dryness in the mouth. The full-body rashes caused by Lupus are a reaction to organs becoming inflamed.
5. Prescription medication
Certain prescribed drugs such as medications to control cholesterol, blood thinners, or antidepressants can cause hair loss as a significant side effect. Other medications that might cause hair loss include birth control pills, vitamin A supplements, blood pressure medication, medication for heart disease, gout medication, and drugs used to treat arthritis. If you are noticing hair fall due to prescription medications, let your doctor know so that they can prescribe you an alternate medicine.
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