Hair – The health aspects of hair loss and hair graying
Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. The human body is covered in follicles which produce thick terminal. Hair loss may be considered as a common aging problem. However, experts believe that graying or thinning is not a sign of aging; rather a sign of deficiencies. Furthermore, several diseases and the various medications seem to take a toll on one’s health, causing various changes in the hair of our seniors. From deficiencies to various disease conditions, graying and thinning have many stories to tell.
The story of graying
The process of aging creates various changes – these include weathering of the shafts, a decrease in the production of shafts and a simultaneous decrease in the functioning of melanocytes.
Each of our follicles contains a pigment melanin. Melanin is the compound which gives it color. As we age, there is a significant decrease in the amount of melanin that our body produces. Such a kind of problem, causes it to lose its color and turn gray.
Reasons for graying or thinning in our seniors
As already stated, gray hair may not always signal advancing age. But, it may be an indication of these 10 major reasons. Let’s understand them:
Heart disease in men
Researchers have found out an important link between heart disease and graying of hair in men. A study carried out at the University of Egypt, stated that, graying of hair signals that elderly men might be suffering from heart disease. This is an important finding, which can be further strengthened by more studies.
Other medical problems
Premature greying can also be seen in people affected by pernicious anemia, autoimmune or Down syndrome.
This is by far one of the most important causes identified for gray hair in our elderly. Deficiency of certain valuable vitamins, such as vitamin B12, is known to trigger hair loss and gray hair in the elderly. A nutritional imbalance is also a major cause of gray hair in our seniors. Many studies have postulated certain facts, which goes like this – a particular group of subjects who had prematurely gray was studied and it was found that they had pretty low levels of serum calcium, vitamin D 3 and ferritin levels.
Yes, you read that right! Heredity is one of the common causes of graying. If your parents had early graying, then there are higher chances, that you would experience the same pattern. However, a study published in the Nature Communications stated that there are some exact set of genes responsible for graying.
Chronic stress is one of the major reasons for premature graying and thinning. A study carried out in mice, reported that chronic stress is responsible for the reduction of the stem cells present in the follicles. Such a kind of a change, causes the hairs to gray.
Disorders of the thyroid gland, that causes either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, is known to cause premature graying. This happens because, any change in the thyroid functioning, can significantly influence the production of melanin, which in turn causes the hairs to gray.
Researchers have also postulated a very strong connection between smoking cigarettes and thinning of hair. It appears that in chronic smokers the blood vessels constrict, resisting the blood flow to the follicles, which causes thinning. Moreover, the toxins present in cigarettes are known to trigger early graying.
Diabetes has also known to trigger hair loss in some elderly. The stress and hormonal imbalance can result in hair loss in individuals with diabetes.
It is believed that our follicles produce small quantities of hydrogen peroxide. This is essentially a chemical, which has been used by the hair care industry to lighten the hairs. In a study published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, states that when there is the buildup of hydrogen peroxide in the scalp, the color of the hair begins to fade.
Various medications are known to trigger hair loss in the elderly. With age, our elderly are required to take various medications, which can cause their hair to undergo thinning. These medications include blood thinners, antidepressants, medications for treating gout and chemotherapy medicines.
Poor dietary habits
Poor dietary habits is yet another reason for premature thinning and graying. A diet that is poor in nutrients such as biotin, vitamin A and C, iron, copper, and zinc, can cause the shafts to weaken, making it brittle.
Tips to tackle the problem of hair loss
Hair loss and hair thinning is a common phenomenon of old age. Various disease conditions, medications, poor dietary habits and genetic factors, all contribute towards those silver strands during old age. However, not all seniors like to live with thin or gray hair. So, here are certain tips, for our senior loved ones, that can help and prevent hair loss.
This is a type of medication, that blocks the androgen receptors, and helps in preventing hair fall.
This medicine was preliminarily used for treating blood pressure, but later on, was used as a topical treatment for hair loss. Rogaine is also known as mini doxie and is usually the first line of treatment for hair loss. Results may take a good time of 2 months to show up.
This is done when the above medications do not bring about the desired effect. In this method, a small part of the scalp is removed to create shafts. The shafts have few hairs, which is transplanted to the balding areas. New hairs will take some time to grow.
Tips to tackle the problems of grey hair
Water is key to maintaining healthy hair, skin, nails, and overall body health. Drinking water throughout the day is an excellent way to keep your hair hydrated from the inside out.
Keep your hair in healthy
Your texture changes when it loses color. Also, you may find it is more wiry or coarse and certainly drier than it was before. Step up the deep conditioning treatments to restore gloss and shine to your gray hair. Use an extra conditioning sulfate free shampoo and conditioner with every wash.
Fade to gray gradually
If you have colored. Visit your salon more often to cut off the old color treatment and get some lowlights to blend in the new gray hair as it comes out.
- Wear Hats
Protecting your gray, especially from the sun is extremely important. Wearing hats when in the sun for long periods of time helps to prevent sun damage which can damage gray, and cause it to turn yellow.
Use a lightweight oil
The dryness of graying requires a little extra love. It’s important to have a good hair oil as part of your regimen. Try adding a bit of moroccan or argan oil to your hair to help protect against free radicals and keep your hair nourished and moisturized throughout the day.
This day and age society tells us that men with grey hair or hair loss are fine. But a woman is less attractive and not worthy. We should not let this be, we should be happy with good health. I have been to the hair salons and now are seeing young girls dying their hair grey and sliver. The following tips and suggestions should help with hair loss and grey hair. Also, check out this post on thinning skin.
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