Author Bio: Dr. Sanusi Umar MD is the author of this article.
Individuals often ask us here at the Dr.U Hair and Skin Clinics in Los Angeles how they should go about treating their hair loss. The answer is that it depends on which of the hair loss types are at work. Getting a medical diagnosis will provide you with this information as well as the cause(s) behind your condition. Aside from noting patterns of baldness and thinning here is a closer look at how specialists like Dr.U gather information to diagnose different types of hair loss.
A Review of Your Medical History and Lifestyle Practices
Patients will be asked a series of questions related to hair styling practices, diet, recent health changes (e.g. pregnancy), family history, when the hair loss actually started and whether there are any medical conditions to consider. The usage of any prescription drugs should also be disclosed since hair loss may result from side effects due to acne treatment medications anti-depressants, beta blockers, and medications with testosterone.
Pull Test for Hair Loss Types
The pull test offers a very simple approach for assessing hair loss types. The doctor will grab a grouping of about 40-50 hairs and gently pull. The presence of 6 or more hairs is a sign of active hair loss. Here are the different hair loss types under this category
- Loose anagen syndrome – a hair loss condition seen in children where the hair is not firmly anchored to the follicle
- Anagen effluvium – a form of hair loss resulting from medical treatment
- Telogen effluvium – temporary hair loss caused by disruptions in the hair follicle life cycle
- Androgenic alopecia – common genetic hair loss, also known as male or female pattern hair loss
- Advanced androgenic alopecia – an autoimmune disorder caused by the immune system attacking hair follicles and healthy surrounding tissue
Blood Tests to Determine Illnesses That Cause Hair Loss
If Dr.U suspects that a medical or health issue may be responsible, he or she may decide to perform blood tests for one or more of the following conditions:
A patient’s thyroid may be overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). It is believed that certain hormones released by the thyroid gland may damage the follicles.
A thyroid blood test will check for levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) in the blood.
Low iron means less oxygen available to the hair follicles. A blood test will check for ferritin levels which pertain to the iron content of the body.
Androgens are a set of hormones which also includes testosterone. High androgen levels may be correlated with diffusely global hair thinning in women as well as common forms of hair loss and baldness in men..
Punch Biopsy For Hair Loss Types in Los Angeles Patients
A punch biopsy offers more specific information about the follicles themselves. Test results can help reveal whether a patient’s hair loss condition is due to inflammation, genetics, infections or some type of emotional or physical stress on the body. A punch biopsy is performed by excising a circular patch of skin, similar in size to a pencil eraser. It is then sent to the lab for testing.
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Frequently Asked Questions – Hair Loss Types
How would I know if my hair loss is caused by fungus?
Your doctor may take a scraping or swab from the scalp to check for the presence of fungus which may infect the follicles and lead to inflammation or cause breakage in the hair shafts.
Can a blood test be performed for nutritional deficiencies that may be causing my hair loss?
Yes, a blood test can check for levels of vitamins, minerals and other necessary nutritional components to see if levels are normal or not