Losing your hair is often assumed to be a sign of ageing when, in fact, this is rarely the case.
The genetic conditions Male Pattern Baldness
and Female Pattern Hair Loss
are most commonly considered signs of ageing, however, these can actually start to present any time following puberty.
As any Belgravia
specialist will tell you, there are many factors to consider when trying to uncover why someone is experiencing hair loss
, including - as one Scottish student recently discovered - an underlying illness.
Hair fall indicated liver condition
Speaking to local paper, the Daily Record
, Edinburgh University student, Kirsty Mills, explained how her hair started falling out in the shower but she had no other symptoms. Concerned, the 20 year old visited her doctor who initially suspected lupus
, a chronic disease which causes inflammation and can lead to permanent hair loss in some cases.
After more testing, a scan showed she had a rare form of autoimmune hepatitis - liver cirrhosis. She told the newspaper, "My immune system recognises my liver cells as a foreign object. This happened without me knowing over many years until it got to the stage of cirrhosis."
Now aged 25, Mills, who is teetotal, is backing a campaign by the British Liver Trust called 'Love Your Liver', in order to help raise awareness. The Trust is holding mobile screening events across the UK, with locations for 2018 so far confirmed to include Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Liverpool, Derby and Cardiff.
"Getting tested is something I really advocate. If it is caught early, steps can be taken to reverse the damage,"
advises Kirsty Mills.
Illness and hair loss
It is not just life-threatening illnesses
that can be signalled by thinning hair. There are a number of health issues which list hair loss as a classic symptom, including thyroid problems
and iron-deficiency anaemia
Legendary James Bond actor, Roger Moore, once told how a bout of pneumonia caused his famous hair to fall out, whilst S Club 7 and Primeval star Hannah Spearritt
recently spoke about her hair loss from breast implant illness.
The reason for hair loss from illness is often due to a blip in the hair growth cycle
. When the body is trying to fight infection or deal with any invader - such as a virus - its instinctive reaction to to divert resources towards ensuring critical functions are maintained. Thus, whilst the heart, lungs and brain are kept safe, other less vital functions such as hair growth may be neglected until the underlying trigger issue is remedied.
When the body reaches this tipping point it can prematurely push up to 50 per cent of hair follicles from all over the scalp into the resting phase. These hairs then fall out around three months later. So, although the appearance of this sudden hair loss may seem shocking, the process of this condition, known as Telogen Effluvium
, is generally around half way through when this sign becomes noticeable.
This is a temporary form of hairloss which tends to last no more than six months, however, in cases of Chronic Telogen Effluvium
, this can last for a longer period but is still considered temporary. Telogen Effluvium treatment
is available for both conditions for people wanting a helping hand to accelerate recovery.
Anyone concerned about losing their hair - whether gradually or suddenly - is advised to speak to an expert as soon as possible. If there are symptoms other than hairloss, it is best to seek advice from your doctor in the first instance. If this is the only sign, a hair loss specialist
can assess and diagnose the cause of your shedding, as well as recommending personalised treatments where appropriate. Furthermore, they can refer you to a doctor if necessary, or advise you of tests to ask your GP for if an underlying illness is suspected.