Is My Hair Loss a Sign of Illness?
If you are losing your hair, you are not alone. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology reports that over 80 million Americans currently experience hair loss. That is one-fourth of our national population. For most people, this loss is genetic or just part of aging. But for others, it can be a sign of illness.
So, is your hair loss a sign of illness or a medical problem? Below, we look at some signs that your thinning hair might relate to medication, a systemic illness or other health problems.
You Are Losing Hair on Other Parts of Your Body
Hair loss occurring on multiple parts of your body and not just your head can be a sign of illness. This type of loss often relates to an autoimmune disorder. You possibly have autoimmune alopecia if your eyelashes or eyebrows are falling out along with the hair from your scalp. This differs from androgenetic alopecia, also called male pattern baldness. Thyroid disease and lupus are two other autoimmune disorders that cause hair loss throughout your body.
You Feel Fatigued or Sluggish Every Day
If you struggle to have enough energy to get through your day, you may not be eating right. Or, your diet may not provide the essential nutrients you need, such as zinc and healthy fats. Being malnourished often leads to hair loss. Other signs of illness caused by malnutrition include diarrhea and extreme weight loss. Try adding fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, water, and protein to your diet and see your doctor for evaluation.
You Experience Frequent Muscle Aches
Having hair loss and frequent muscle aches at the same time can indicate hypothyroidism. This autoimmune disorder is a result of hormonal imbalance easily treated through proper medication. Many people with hypothyroidism have no sign of illness at first, but eventually feel fatigued and experience weight gain, aching muscles and hair loss. Blood tests can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition.
You Have Weak or Brittle Nails
Brittle nails and hair loss are frequent side effects of an iron deficiency. This anemia occurs when your body does not make enough red blood cells. As a result, you also feel weak and tired. Besides chest pain, cold hands and feet are another sign of illness because of low iron.
Sometimes anemia is a result of antibiotics that hinder iron absorption. But it could be part of another condition. Regardless of the cause, most people notice improvement with daily iron supplementation.
You Take Blood Pressure or Cholesterol Medications
Many people using cholesterol or blood pressure medication notice hair loss as a side effect. As examples, atorvastatin and simvastatin sometimes cause these problems. But only about one percent of patients using these prescriptions suffer thinning hair as a result. Beta blockers for high blood pressure also cause these effects in some patients.
If you take these medications and notice hair loss, talk to your doctor. Sometimes patients have alternative medications they can try. But other people must weigh the negative effects of changing medications and find other ways to manage their thinning hair.
Hair Loss Accompanies a Rash
If you have a rash on your body or face that accompanies hair loss, this is sometimes a sign of illness. Another autoimmune disorder, lupus, can trigger both of these side effects at the same time. These effects are sometimes signs of inflammation of the organs as part of the disorder.
Many people with lupus experience rash flare-ups that come and go. Other symptoms include joint pain and dry eyes. Of course, it is important to see your doctor for evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.
See a Hair Transplant Physician for Diagnosis and Treatment
It is always important to see your doctor when you notice a thinning hairline. A specialist, such as Dr. Arthur Zacco of AZ Hair Restoration in Raleigh and Apex, North Carolina, can diagnose your hair condition and provide treatment options. Dr. Zacco is a hair transplant physician providing multiple methods of restoration, including:
- Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
- Hair Restoration
- Hair Transplantation
- Multiple follicular unit (MFU)
- Strip hair transplant (FUT)
A consultation with Dr. Zacco can take place in person in his office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Or, you may schedule a virtual visit from anywhere in the country.
Before seeing your physician, try not to feel too stressed by wondering, “Is my hair loss a sign of illness?” After all, stress can cause thinning hair in some people. Schedule your consultation today with AZ Hair Restoration for a diagnosis and to learn more about your treatment options. Call us at (919) 615-0577.