Your hair reflects much about your origins, your socio-economic status, and your health. For example, most Indians from the north or east have thinner, softer, and scantier hair as compared to those from the south or west, who tend to have thicker, coarser, and denser hair. It is very easy to distinguish between a well-styled haircut and a simple haircut. This by itself becomes a status symbol and the branding of a salon is a matter to boast about. Flaunting one's tresses has always been one of the fond passions of the youth; although nowadays, anyone could be fashion conscious.
Few people know that changes in the hair texture and hair fall can be an ominous sign of an underlying disease. There are more than 40 different types of hair loss and by the time you notice your hair thinning, you will have already lost 50% of the hair density. It is therefore very important to recognize the pattern of hair loss at an early stage so that immediate treatment can be started. Most patients ignore their hair loss and try home remedies to treat themselves. Hair fall is more than just a cosmetic problem. Hence, it makes sense to seek professional help even for seemingly trivial matters of the hair.
Hormonal imbalances play a vital role in hair loss. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a by-product of the male hormone testosterone that has been found to be strongly responsible for hair loss, especially male-pattern balding. Thinning of hair in women increases considerably after menopause because the ovaries may produce more male hormones rather than female hormones, thereby increasing the availability of testosterone to be converted into DHT. Various ailments like diabetes, anemia, polycystic ovarian disease, thyroid disorders, and excessive stress may initially manifest with hair loss.
Excess stress and certain illnesses can constrict the blood capillaries and thereby decrease the blood supply to the skin, leading to hair fall. Deficiency of certain essential amino acids, vitamins, and elements like iron, copper, and zinc can lead to hair loss. Both hypothyroidism (underfunctioning of the thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (over functioning of the thyroid) are known to affect the texture of the hair and also lead to hair fall. In hypothyroidism, a patient usually complains of weight gain, constipation, sluggishness, drowsiness, and chilliness along with dryness and coarseness of hair. The exact opposite happens in hyperthyroidism where the patient loses weight, feels very hot, becomes restless and has palpitations, frequent bowel movements and a staring look along with excessive oiliness of the skin and hair. So, from now on, listen to what your hair says without words!