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Beyond Genetics: What Else Can Cause Hair Loss?

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
ANNOUNCER: There are many causes of hair loss. But some of the things commonly thought to cause it, actually don't.

ROBERT LEONARD, DO: One of the most common myths is that the genetics of male pattern hair loss are due to the mother's side of the family only. I have many patients who come in and tell me that their mother's father has a full head of hair, why are they bald?

CRAIG ZIERING, DO: One of the greatest myths that I come across in my practice is people telling me that they don't want to wash and shampoo their hair daily because they see their hairs falling out.

ROBERT LEONARD, DO: There are other myths pertaining to hair loss -- wearing a hat, wearing a helmet, brushing hair too much.

ANNOUNCER: But if none of these things cause hair loss, what does?

ROBERT LEONARD, DO: By far, the most common cause of hair loss in men is androgenetic alopecia or genetic hair loss; that's 98% of hair loss is due to that.

CRAIG ZIERING, DO: Genetic hair loss comes from both sides of the family. It's not true that it's just inherited from either the female or the male side.

CRAIG ZIERING, DO: And it affects approximately 20% of men by the age of twenty, 50% of men by the age of fifty and 80% of men by the age of eighty. Approximately an equal number of women lose hair as men. They usually start their hair loss approximately ten years later than men, so it often starts in their thirties

ANNOUNCER: Although the vast majority of hair loss is a result of genetics, there are many other causes, some with the odd names alopeica areata and telogen effluvium.

ROBERT LEONARD, DO: Alopecia areata is actually autoimmune disease where the hair follicles, for some unknown reason, are actually attacked by the body. And typically, a bald spot develops.

CRAIG ZIERING, DO: Alopecia areata often regrows within two years. You normally see some little black dots and then the hairs start to come from within the center of the bald area.

ROBERT LEONARD, DO: Telogen effluvium is a condition where a lot of hair may fall out in a relatively short period of time. The most common causes of that are childbirth, high fever, severe illness and even high stress can cause telogen effluvium to occur. If they remain patient, the majority of the hair will grow back within a three- or four-month period of time with telogen effluvium.

ANNOUNCER: Medications are also a potential culprit.

CRAIG ZIERING, DO: There are many medications that can cause hair loss. One of the most common is Accutane. There is allopurinol, coumarin, chemotherapeutic agents as well.

ROBERT LEONARD, DO: Antithyroid medications can also cause hair loss. Some of the SSRIs, such as Prozac or Zoloft can cause hair loss as well.

ANNOUNCER: Whatever the cause of hair loss, it's important to get to the root of the problem, so the right treatment can be started.

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