People whose hair loss has been caused by the all over thinning condition Telogen Effluvium (TE) sometimes find that the clues as to why they have been affected all point to iron deficiency anaemia.
There are a whole host of reasons why somebody may start shedding hair to Telogen Effluvium – a change in medication, stress and extreme diets are amongst them – and anaemia can be one of the most difficult to pin down, largely because it is so under-diagnosed.
Now, however, a new device created by mechanical engineering researchers at the University of Washington may make pinpointing iron-related anaemia far simpler.
Quarter of the world suffers from anaemia
There are various different forms of anaemia; all involve a lack of haemoglobin in the blood or a person having fewer red blood cells than normal. This particular research relates to iron-deficiency anaemia which is the type most people mean when referring simply to ‘anaemia’.
According to the university’s website, the researchers have developed a device that is smaller than a toaster which can detect the level of haemoglobin in blood samples using something called optical absorbance. Given that around a quarter of the world suffers from anaemia, a device such as this which improves on the existing – rather complex – techniques for spotting anaemia is much-needed.
For anaemics whose diffuse hair thinning has been initiated by their condition, a simple diagnosis would enable them to take the necessary steps to address any iron deficiencies. This, in turn, should help their hairloss to subside due to the biological stress the untreated illness was placing on their system subsiding.
TE is a temporary condition which predominantly affects women; similarly, anaemia is also more common in women, particularly those of child bearing age due to blood loss during menstruation. Both issues can, however, also present in men.
When TE becomes noticeable it may seem as if the onset it sudden, though this is generally not the case. Once the hairloss has been triggered it takes around three months for the shedding – which occurs from the entire scalp – to start. It will then tend to last for around six months and clear up of its own accord if the underlying cause is dealt with – in this case, if the anaemia is identified and treated. In cases where the cause of the condition remains unchecked, it could become chronic, which lasts for more than six months but is still temporary. In both instances hair loss treatment is possible to help speed up regrowth.
Dealing with anaemic hair loss
If anaemia is identified as the cause of Telogen Effluvium, then by correcting iron intake and seeking out professional help from hair loss experts it should mean that scalps make a full recovery within a reasonably short time-frame. Although shedding a little more hair than normal may not sound that significant, it is possible to lose 50 per cent in hair density, or more in some cases.
It is also worth pointing out that Telogen Effluvium can sometimes exacerbate the conditions male pattern baldness – which affects the top of the scalp often causing defined areas of thinning at the crown and along the vertex, as well as a receding hairline, and can lead to baldness – and female pattern hair loss – which can cause severely thinning hair across the top of the scalp and hairline, particularly at the temples though rarely leads to baldness – in people with a genetic predisposition.
For those with this predisposition who have not get developed signs of pattern hair loss, it is possible for a bout of Telogen Effluvium or Chronic Telogen Effluvium to bring about its premature onset. This is why it can be wise to seek help from a specialist hair loss clinic upon noticing any unusual and prolonged shedding.
A tailored Telogen Effluvium treatment course can help to accelerate the regrowth process and, at Belgravia, this usually involves the use of topically-applied solutions of high strength minoxidil. The exact scientific reason why minoxidil promotes hair regrowth is not fully understood, but many experts believe that it may be due to the drug dilating the blood vessels around follicles, thus increasing the flow of blood and nutrients to the treated area. It has also been suggested that minoxidil opens up potassium channels in the scalp to encourage hair growth.
Treatment courses may also comprise additional hair growth boosters appropriate to the individual client, including the home-use Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) device, the LaserComb, which is combed through the hair every week to help stimulate the follicles. Belgravia’s exclusive Hair Vitalics hair growth food supplements for , are also incredibly popular and come in separate formulations for men and for women, as their needs differ slightly. Each also contains unique ingredients designed to lower levels of the genetic-hair loss-causing hormone, DHT, as well as key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals identified by Belgravia’s hair experts as being beneficial to healthy hair growth, making them highly targeted and far superior to regular vitamin tablets in this respect.
Neither Hair Vitalics for Men nor Hair Vitalics for Women contain iron; they do, however, contain vitamin C which can increase the body’s iron absorption. Good food sources of iron which can easily be incorporated into a balanced diet include red meat, pork, poultry and seafood, whilst vegetarians and vegans can stock up via dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, as well as dried fruits, beans and fortified cereals. Iron is one of a number of nutrients that it is important to keep in check as too little or too much can have repercussions including hair loss.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.