Certain Signs of Hair Loss Can Signal Deeper Health Issue

Average person loses up to 100 strands of hair each day

DAYTON, Ohio (January 15, 2019) – The average person loses up to 100 strands of hair each day, but hair loss can be a sign of a deeper problem when it’s accompanied by other symptoms.

“More often than not, hair loss is a temporary issue and fortunately hair grows back,” said Erin McKibben, a nurse practitioner with Stillwater Family Care. “But there are times when hair loss is a result of a condition that destroys the hair follicle permanently.”

The presence of hair on the shower floor or bathroom counter isn’t usually reason for concern, said McKibben, who practices with Premier Physician Network. Other signs can better indicate if there is an underlying condition.

“A person should be concerned if they are losing too much hair, if they notice bald patches on their scalp or if they have itching, burning or flaky skin on their scalp,” she said. “A person should see a health care provider if they aren’t feeling well along with these symptoms or notice the symptoms have come on suddenly.”

There are a multitude of reasons a person could be losing too much hair. Hair loss can point to endocrine issues such as thyroid disease or polycystic ovarian syndrome. It also can be a natural part of pregnancy or androgenic alopecia, which is male or female pattern baldness.

McKibben said it’s important to find the reason for hair loss to understand how it can be treated or reversed.

Look at your medication – Several types of medication used for common health issues can lead to hair loss. Medications that control cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as those that treat depression can be contributors.

Consider the stress you're under – Significant stress or emotional strain can lead to hair loss. A major life event that causes a shocking or instant reaction of stress can play a role. Take time to think through what you may be going through on a daily basis and whether it could be a contributing factor to the hair you are losing.

Look at your lifestyle choices – Evaluate your lifestyle such as diet and exercise. An unbalanced diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies. A lack of exercise and sleep can also contribute to stress. Likewise, rapid weight loss can contribute to hair loss so be careful of extreme diets.

Evaluate your hairstyle – The reason for hair loss may actually be as simple as the type of hair style being worn. Women who wear tight hair styles such as a high pony tail will stress their hair follicles and cause the hair to break off in larger amounts than usual. If this is the case, consider switching to low, loose pony tails or braids.

Don’t forget about genetics – Genetics is a strong indicator as to whether hair loss may be inherited. Pattern baldness in both males and females tends to cluster in families, and having a close relative with this type of hair loss appears to be a risk factor for developing the condition, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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