Am I Balding?
Androgenic alopecia has become a common type of hair loss, especially among males. Research has shown that at least 50% of men aged fifty and above suffer from some degree of hair loss.
Anyone who has experienced any sort of hair loss perhaps knows how devastating it feels. Society today tend to associate luxurious hair with beauty, youth, and good health. For most people, their hair is perhaps what keeps them alive and beautiful. So, when you lose it, for whatever reason, it can have a devastating effect on your self-esteem, morale, and overall welbeing.
Being aware of male androgenic alopecia is important as there exist some treatment options that can potentially help you to manage the condition, regressing its advancement. This can allow you to maintain your healthy and beautiful appearance and looks.
What exactly is male pattern hair loss?
Studies have proven that about 50% of men will experience some form of hair loss by the time they reach their 50s or even earlier. This is an alarming statistic because practically, it implies that every man out there has one in two chances of experiencing androgenic alopecia, also referred to as male pattern baldness.
Every single hair on your head has a distinct growth cycle. With androgenic alopecia, this particular growth cycle starts to deteriorate and your hair follicle shrinks and only produces fairly shorter and finer hair strands. Over time, the growth cycle for each hair stops and no new hair grows in its place.
In male-pattern baldness, hair is usually lost in a visibly well-defined pattern, which always starts above both temples. With time, your hairline recedes, forming a characteristic M-shape in the process. Your hair also starts to thin at near the top of your head (at the crown), and this mostly progresses to either partial or complete baldness.
How bad is my androgenic alopecia?
Medical experts, trichologists and hair loss specialists classify androgenic alopecia using a particular standard code. This code is evaluated based on Hamilton Norwood Scale, which is a medical tool used to assess how serious or severe a male pattern hair loss is. Simply put, it determines the level of your baldness.
The Norwood Hamilton scale features seven stages of hair loss, starting with the least amount of hair loss to the last stage that signifies the highest point of male baldness.
If the type of your androgenic alopecia is higher on this scale, it simply implies that your treatment options are very limited.
For more information regarding this male baldness scale, kindly visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5596658/
What causes androgenic alopecia?
There is a range of environmental and genetic factors that can potentially play a role in causing male pattern baldness. However, more research is needed to firmly link these factors to androgenic alopecia. Regardless, studies have shown that this type of hair loss is somehow associated with hormones known as androgens. Androgens have numerous functions in the body, and one of these is to regulate hair growth.
Hair growth usually starts under your skin in structures known as follicles. Each hair strand normally grows for between two and six years, before transitioning into a resting phase for some months and eventually falling out.
The cycle will start again when the follicle to grow a brand-new hair. Increased androgen levels in your hair follicles can result in a shorter hair growth cycle as well as the growth of thinner and shorter hair strands. What’s more, this may also lead to a delay in the growth and development of new hair to replace the worn-out strands.
Though not yet medically proven, it is strongly believed that there is a link between male pattern baldness and other medical conditions such as prostate cancer, thyroid conditions, and coronary heart diseases. The explanation behind the link is that these disorders may elevate a man’s androgen levels, and this, in turn, may lead to androgenic alopecia. Other environmental, hormonal, medication and genetic factors that have not yet been identified may equally play a role.
How can I go about this condition?
If you are currently suffering from male pattern baldness and would want to find a solution to your problem, there are some treatment options available including:
- This is a topical hair growth medication applied to the patient’s scalp. Not only does it slow down hair loss, but it may also stimulate your hair follicles to grow new healthy hair. It takes between four to twelve months to produce the desired results. However, hair loss will occur if you stop using Rogaine.
- This is also an oral medicine that is known to slow hair loss. It functions by blocking the production of the androgen hormone, which is responsible for the loss of hair. It takes at least three months before you can see visible results. When you stop using this medication, the hair loss will return.
- Hair transplant is arguably the most effective and equally most expensive way to restore your lost hair. Hair transplants entail harvesting hair from other areas of your scalp that boast active hair growth and subsequently transplanting them to either balding or thinning areas within the scalp.
Thanks to the advent of technology, there are other minimally invasive hair transplantation techniques such as the follicular unit extraction method which has an advantageboasts of a faster recovery time.
Anotheradvantage of hair transplant procedure is that your new hair looks more natural and is also permanent.
Fret not if you feel you might have androgenic alopecia, as depending on the severity of your hair loss, there are always different treatment options for your needs.
- Balding D. J. (2013). Evaluation of mixed-source, low-template DNA profiles in forensic science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(30), 12241–12246. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1219739110
- Speed, D., Hemani, G., Johnson, M. R., & Balding, D. J. (2013). Response to Lee et al.: SNP-based heritability analysis with dense data. American journal of human genetics, 93(6), 1155–1157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.10.016
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