Hair loss is a prominent issue among women of color and it’s usually linked to hair regime rather than lifestyle and health. It’s imperative that you nurture your hair with proper care and the right products but it’s just as important to make sure that your health is not the cause for thinning. What’s going on inside of the body will manifest on the outside and this rule of thumb applies to the hair and scalp. The following list is an in-depth look at physical diseases that can result in hair loss that can be treated or prevented with regular visits to the doctor and adopting a nutritious diet.
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) are both diseases that list rapid hair loss as a symptom. The thyroid gland manufactures the hormones that help control metabolism and growth, and when it doesn’t supply the proper amount, Thyroid Disease occurs. To avoid or combat this disease visit a dermatologist and consult with a doctor to see if you have any nutritional deficiencies that can be corrected with supplements.
Anemia, also known as iron deficiency, is the most common reason for hair loss. This condition is a result of the body having a lower iron level than required. The number of red blood cells is reduced which results in several ailments. Iron is used to maintain the body temperature so if there’s iron deficiency in the body, the hair follicles become weaker and thinning ensues. Preventative measures that can be taken are to eat more nutritious foods with a high iron content such as fish, dark green leafy vegetables, wheat germ and grain products.
Diabetes is a hormone-related disease that can potentially cause hair loss and thinning. Hair loss normally begins at the onset of diabetes and gradually becomes worse. For that reason, it’s important to have diabetes detected at an early stage. Diabetics are sensitive to skin problems because their blood circulation is not optimal which could cause visible hair loss because the body can’t keep up with the re-growth process. If you notice your hair getting thinner and have other diabetes-related symptoms, be sure to see a physician immediately.
Ringworm of the Scalp (Fungal Infection)
Ringworm of the scalp is a topical fungal infection. It’s caused by a mold-like fungi called dermatophytes and occurs when a particular type of fungus grows and multiplies anywhere on your skin, scalp, or nails. The symptoms of this itchy condition are flaking and scaling of the scalp, redness, blisters, chunks of hair falling out and pus (which is caused by an allergic reaction to the fungus). Children are highly affected by this form of hair loss and 50% of the hair loss they experience is caused by scalp ringworm. This is a common skin infection as it is highly contagious and can be transmitted through person to person contact, person to object contact and animal to person contact. To treat scalp ringworm, see a physician who will likely prescribe an anti-fungal pill, which is far more effective than topical treatments.
Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. Women of color are 2-3 times more likely to develop lupus. Hair loss is a pivotal symptom of active lupus, and it could be the first red flag of the disease. The loss can be patchy and sometimes extreme. For most patients, hair re-grows after treatment but the hair regeneration process is slow. To be tested for lupus, visit a doctor for a blood or urine test.