The symptoms: Lupus often causes extreme fatigue, headaches, oral ulcers, and painful, swollen joints. Many people develop a butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and become more sensitive to the sun. Other symptoms include fever; swelling in the feet and hands and around the eyes; chest pain; and anemia. Many people also experience hair loss, which may be mild and occur while shampooing or brushing your hair—or it may be more severe, coming out in patches and accompanied by a rash on the scalp, says Arthur Weinstein, MD, director of the division of rheumatology at the Washington Hospital Center. Because these symptoms occur in many other conditions, lupus is often called the great imitator.
There are many different types of hair loss with a variety of potential underlying causes. Several medical conditions are associated with hair loss. Common causes include thyroid problems and hormone imbalances. When these are adequately diagnosed and treated, hair loss may stop, and hair may grow back. Stress, nutritional factors, and genetics may may also play a role in hair loss. Severe physical stress such as going through childbirth, surgery, or suffering a serious illness may precipitate a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium. This is a condition in which stress forces large numbers of follicles to enter the resting phase, and after a few months, hair will fall out. Sometimes doctors are not able to determine what is causing hair loss. Other potential causes of hair loss include radiation therapy, cancer, kidney failure, liver failure, medication side effects, and autoimmune disease. If you are experiencing new or increasing hair loss, see your doctor for a diagnosis and loss is extremely common, affecting about 50 million men and 30 million women in the U.S. About 50% of men will have some hair loss by the time they turn 50. Hair loss is not life-threatening, though it can have devastating psychological effects, particularly in women.
This is autoimmune disorder also known as “spot baldness” that can result in hair loss ranging from just one location (Alopecia areata monolocularis) to every hair on the entire body (Alopecia areata universalis). Although thought to be caused by hair follicles becoming dormant, what triggers alopecia areata is not exactly known. In most cases the condition corrects itself, but it can also spread to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or to the entire body (alopecia universalis).
The most common cause of progressive hair loss in women, FPHL (Female Pattern Hair Loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia), affects about 30 million American women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Not so fast. Dr. Alex Khadavi, a board-certified dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California, says that it’s a good idea to approach all of these products with a skeptical eye.
An unhealthy scalp environment can play a significant role in hair thinning by contributing to miniaturization or causing damage. Air and water pollutants, environmental toxins, conventional styling products and excessive amounts of sebum have the potential to build up on the scalp. This debris can block hair follicles and cause their deterioration and consequent miniaturization of hair. It can also physically restrict hair growth or damage the hair cuticle, leading to hair that is weakened and easily broken off before its natural lifecycle has ended.
Studies using finasteride in women are currently ongoing and are showing promising results. Your doctor may consider using finasteride, or a similar agent, depending on your individual presentation, other medications you are using, your age, and other medical conditions you may have.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissues. The condition affects about 1.5 million people and tends to strike women during their childbearing years.
Sometimes the evidence lies in your scalp. The dermatologist may remove a small piece of the scalp. This is called a scalp biopsy. A dermatologist can quickly and safely perform a scalp biopsy during an office visit. A scalp biopsy can be essential to solving the case. Sometimes, a blood test is necessary.
Zinc seems to be a super nutrient when it comes to preventing and treating hair loss. In one study, researchers compared the zinc levels of 50 people with hair loss due to alopecia areata to 50 healthy controls and found that all of the alopecia patients had significantly lower zinc levels. Another study examined the zinc and copper levels in 312 men and women experiencing hair loss. No matter the cause of the hair loss, all subjects had significantly lower zinc levels than controls.
But diffuse hair shedding linked to weight, anaemia, diet or thyroid problems is temporary, according to Glenn Lyons, the clinical director at the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in London. The hair follicle isn’t damaged and the hair grows back automatically or once an imbalance is addressed.
Itchy scalp may be a symptom of a scalp disease that could produce hair loss. Causes may include seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) and psoriasis. Treatments may include medicated shampoos like ketoconazole (Nizoral), OTC dandruff shampoos, and topical steroid creams and lotions to help decrease itching.
Like hereditary hair loss, telogen effluvium is extremely common. This phenomenon occurs when your body experiences some form of change such as pregnancy, major surgery, drastic weight loss or even extreme stress can all cause you to experience hair loss. After bone marrow, hair is the second fastest growing tissue of the body5, therefore any small changes in your body are likely to be reflected in your hair.