Is the common term for Androgenetic Alopecia, the scientific name of the condition where there is gradual thinning of the hair in adults with no replacements. The condition, also called reverse male pattern baldness, is characterized by a progressive miniaturization of the hair follicles and the decrease in the cycle of the hair’s growth.
When the hair’s growth period is reduced, the hair comes out thinner and shorter in the succeeding phases. The hair’s thickness and length go thinner and shorter while the natural phases of the hair cycle of growth becomes gradually reduced.
Eventually, the hair growth stops.
This condition affects about 90% of males and about 70% of females of the population and affects all ethnic groups. However, Caucasians have a 50% chance of having hereditary hair loss after age 50 and above.
The term androgenetic means the condition is caused by genes inherited from the patient’s parents. The genetic source could come from either the mother side or the father side of the patient’s family.
The condition is also not gender-specific in its results. Both males and females get afflicted with the condition.
With baldness being governed by many genetic factors, this condition sometimes skips generations. (It will show up in some succeeding generations, but not always necessarily the next one.)
Is hair loss hereditary?
In most cases, the main cause hair loss is hereditary. However, there are several contributing factors that can work together and become the main cause to hair loss. These are the cases that are not caused only by genetics or heredity at all.
With androgenic alopecia, the blame generally points to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) that works in conjunction with the other hormonal factors. This happens when DHT fastens itself intro the hair follicles which are not programmed to endure certain hormonal levels.
With the presence of DHT (a derivative of testosterone), the growth cycle of the hair follicles shortens. After some time, the hair grows less dense and they become shorter. Eventually, hair follicles that lost the hair will fail to grow the hair anymore.
In other instances, constant high levels of stress causes the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol, the stress hormone. During periods of stress, the body also produces more testosterone and DHT during the process and these trigger the cause of hair loss.
In other instances, hair loss is sometimes the typical sign of disorder of the thyroid gland. When your thyroid is not working properly, the malfunction can trigger some failures in other organs. One of the symptoms of the disorder is hair thinning. Sometimes, re-growth does not happen at all.
The same situation happens when there are nutritional imbalances and deficiencies in the body. Science has indicated that deficiencies in proteins, iron, zinc, and biotin are linked to hair loss in men. The same is true with the opposite. Too much vitamin A or carotenes can trigger premature male pattern baldness.
On the same note, hair loss can be caused by several drugs and medications. Anticoagulants (blood thinners), anti-depressants, beta blockers, NSAIDS and vitamin A-based medicine (retinoids) have all been associated with side effects as hair-thinning or worse, baldness.
The most common is chemotherapy where patients lose their hair during treatment periods. However, the hair follicles grow back once the treatment had ended. In other cases, hair cannot grow anymore to its former state.
Hereditary Hair Loss Treatment
Among the many kinds of hair loss conditions, Androgenetic alopecia, responds well to present-day treatments. Since the condition had been extensively studied and worked on by research scientists, the treatments now cover both surgical and non-surgical means.
While both methods have high success rates, it is the non-surgical procedure that is more popular. One treatment uses Minoxidil. This topical medication uses the simple process of applying the solution right into the patient’s scalp.
The other non-surgical treatment is the oral ingestion of a pill that contains the drug Finasteride. The drug works on the hair follicle by blocking the active male hormone.
The effects of both drugs are not very predictable, though. This might have been caused by the many other factors in a person’s constitution that either slows or hastens the effects of the drugs used in preventing hereditary hair loss.