Is Balding An Indicator Of More Serious Problems?

Is Balding An Indicator Of More Serious Problems?
Is Balding An Indicator Of More Serious Problems?

Sudden graying hair or hair loss can be worrying and frustrating. Hair health is a sign of overall vitality and good health. Genetic causes are considered to mainly responsible for the quality of hair and whether balding will occur irrespective of the care you take but there are other factors that could lead to premature greying and hair fall.

Signs And Symptoms Of Hair Loss

1. Nutritional Deficiency

Adequate nutrition is required for good hair growth. In some cases, hair loss or graying indicates lack of proper nutrition; which can be slowed down by following a balanced and nutritious diet.1

  • A balanced diet of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, folates and vitamin B12 is essential for hair growth and maintenance.
  • Loss of melanin (pigment responsible for hair color) is often correlated to dietary deficiencies. Protein deficiencies lead to loss of hair color and hair texture resulting in dull and lifeless hair.

Follow a diet that includes, one serving of proteins, vegetables (greens, red, yellow), grains (fiber) and fruits at each meal.

2. Anemia

If you experience sudden graying or hair loss, get a

complete blood workup to rule out anemia. Check with a physician who can also recommend tonics to improve hemoglobin counts.

  • Chronic anemia, implies low hemoglobin levels which impact hair growth, color and texture.
  • Iron-deficiency anemia is most common among pregnant women, nursing mothers and those recovering from other illnesses or surgeries.

If you are suffering from iron-deficiency anemia, change your diet to include iron-rich foods like ragi (finger millet), dates, jaggery and green, leafy vegetables.

3. Metabolic Disorders And Hormonal Imbalances

  • People with diabetes, often experience thinning of hair, graying and excessive hair fall. Keeping blood glucose levels in check can stop this from happening. Maintaining optimal sugar levels with a low-glycemic diet can positively impact hair health.
  • Most endocrine disorders result in high/low levels of hormone, which in turn impacts hair health. In a study published by Dr. Driscoll and colleagues at The Skin Hospital, Lancashire, UK, the presence of endocrine disorders and polycystic ovaries were correlated in around 350 women presenting with hair loss or hirsutism (excess hair). Women with polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS), have high levels of androgens or testosterone which cause hair thinning,
    loss and graying.
  • Thyroid hormone imbalances also lead to graying and hair loss.
  • Menopausal and post-menopausal women experience dips in estrogen levels which in turn impacts hair health. Graying, thinning and hair loss is common during this period after which it usually settles down.

It is important not to neglect these first signs of underlying metabolic disorders. Consult your physician, who can recommend a hormone panel blood test to check for the imbalances. These imbalances can be corrected with the right medication.

4. Liver Dysfunction

Liver is the biggest gland in the human body, it plays a major role in regulating metabolism. It regulates hormone production, detoxification and digestive processes. Any imbalance in production of liver enzymes can result in poor hair health.

  • Liver function can be damaged due to a number of causes including recent jaundice, viral or chronic hepatitis, excess alcohol consumption or fatty liver disease.
  • If you suspect your poor hair health is related to your liver, seek medical help from a physician or gastroenterologist who may recommend a liver function test.

Liver function can often be restored with a simple diet (avoiding fatty foods).

Cardiac Diseases

A review of a study showed that male pattern baldness appears to be a marker for increased risk of CHD events, especially among men with hypertension or high cholesterol levels.2 However, all cases of such hair loss should not be cause for alarm. Look out for other signs and symptoms that also indicate heart disease like shortness of breath and fatigue.

6. Genes, Lifestyle Factors And Stress

For some people, genes play a significant role in graying and hair. Stress, worry and anxiety also contribute to it. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption also causes graying and hair loss.

It is important to pay attention and check if there are other underlying disorders affecting hair health. Other underlying diseases that can cause hair graying and loss include Parkinson’s and some types of cancer. Certain drugs like anti-epileptic drugs also cause hair loss. While it is necessary to be cautious and

check out underlying disorders, all cases of hair graying and loss do not necessarily indicate the presence of diseases.