What Is Androgenetic Alopecia? Symptoms, Causes And 3 Ways To Treat

When hair loss is related to hormones (androgens) and genetics, it is known as Androgenetic Alopecia, or more commonly just balding. Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common form of hair loss and it is an extremely common disorder that affects roughly 50% of men by age 50 years, and perhaps as many women older than 40 years by menopause. According to the American Board of Dermatology, Androgenetic Alopecia affects an estimated 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States. The incidence and the severity tend to be highest in white men, second highest in Asians and African Americans, and lowest in Native Americans and Eskimos.

Symptoms Of Male

For men, pattern baldness can begin early, even in the teens or early 20s. It's typically characterized :

What Is Androgenetic Alopecia? Symptoms, Causes And 3 Ways To Treat

Progressively receding hairline.
Hair is lost in a well-defined pattern. Over time, the hairline form a characteristic "M" shape.
Thinning of hair on top of head.

Symptoms Of Female

For women, Androgenetic Alopecia rarely leads to total baldness. In general, women maintain a frontal hairline. This hair loss symptoms differs from the typical male :

Thinning and hair loss all over the scalp but more noticeable hair loss on the back of the scalp.
The hairline usually stays the same.
Appear to miniaturized hairs, which are short and fine hairs, varying in length and diameter.

Causes Of Androgenetic Alopecia

1. Genetic Predisposition

Estimates suggest that more than 80% of cases of male pattern baldness are hereditary. It is a polygenic trait and can be inherited through either side of a family, or it may come from both sides. Depending on a person's genetic make-up, hair loss of this type can begin any time after puberty.

The variants gene provides instructions for making a protein called an androgen receptor. Androgen receptors allow the body to respond appropriately to dihydrotestosterone and other androgens. Studies suggest that variations in the variants gene lead to increased activity of androgen receptors in hair follicles. It remains unclear, however, how these genetic changes increase the risk of patterned hair loss in men and women with androgenetic alopecia.

2. Sensitivity To DHT

All normal men and women produce what are known as male hormones, the most common ones being Testosterone, Androsteinedione and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The DHT is responsible for about 95% of hair loss because DHT shrinks hair follicles causing the membranes in the scalp to thicken, become inelastic and restrict blood flow. The growing anagen stage of the hair is shortened and the resting telogen stage is extended.

3. Hormonal Imbalances

A few women present with male pattern because they have excessive levels of androgens. These women tend also to suffer from acne, irregular menses and excessive facial and body hair. Having ovarian cysts, taking birth control pills, pregnancy and menopause are also factors that may upset hormone production and lead to the development of androgenetic alopecia in women.

4. Aging

Androgenetic alopecia is much more common in older people. As time progresses the ratio between hairs in the Anagen and Telogen phase changes, resulting in decreasing hair coverage on certain areas of the scalp. Telogen hairs are increasingly easy to dislodge, thus accelerating the apparent rate of hair loss. The American Hair Loss Association reports that 85% of men over 50 have the thinning hair associated with the condition. It is also much more common in older women than younger, affecting up to 75% of women over age 65.

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