7 Things Your Hair Can Tell About Your Health
Your hair, as well as the rest of your appearance, can reflect your overall health. Any changes in your hair, like changes in color, structure, thickness, and amount can tell a lot about your health. Moreover, this might sometimes indicate a condition. Let's look at the most common changes in hair and what they could mean:1. Hair thinning and thyroid disease
People with hypothyroidism usually experience a change in the appearance of their hair. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland stops producing enough thyroid hormones. According to statistics, nearly 4.6 percent of Americans ages 12 and older suffer from hypothyroidism, albeit most cases are mild. The disease can provoke fatigue, joint pain, swollen face, cold intolerance, muscle aches, and thinning hair.
In addition to thinning hair, certain thyroid conditions increase your risk for an autoimmune hair-loss condition called alopecia areata. This type of hair loss is characterized by sudden hair loss and occurs because the immune system starts to attack the hair follicles.2. Gray hair and stress
According to a study on mice published in the journal Nature, long-term stress can lead to graying hair. This is caused by DNA damage and the reduction of pigment-producing cells in hair follicles. Stress can provoke hair loss as well.
Oxidative stress can also cause graying hair. This is another type of stress in which free radicals (molecules that damage cells) negatively affects the body's ability to repair and can damage pigment-producing cells.
Graying hair due to aging is normal since hair follicles stop producing color. Heredity might also play a role. In a study published in March 2016 in the journal Nature Communications, scientists have identified the gene responsible for gray hair.3. Dandruff and dermatitis
If you notice white or yellow flakes in your hair or on your shoulders, this could be due to seborrheic dermatitis. This condition causes dandruff which can be treated with special over-the-counter shampoos. Seborrheic dermatitis occurs when a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia can irritate the scalp which provokes skin inflammation. Things like dry skin and sensitivity to certain hair care products can lead to dandruff as well.4. Brittle hair and Cushing's syndrome
Brittle hair is one of the signs of Cushing's syndrome. This is a rare disorder that is caused by high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cushing's syndrome is also accompanied by severe fatigue, high blood pressure, and back pain.5. Hair loss and protein deficiency
Since protein is crucial for your hair, its deficiency can lead to hair thinning and even loss. If you think you're not getting enough protein, incorporate protein-rich foods to your diet like chickpeas, eggs, almonds, cheese, chicken breast, milk, Greek yogurt, or tuna. However, most cases of hair thinning, even in women, are likely due to genetics.6. Hair shedding and anemia
If you're noticing more hair in your brush or on your shower floor than usual, you should be checked for iron levels in your blood. Anemia can lead to hair shedding and thinning. Vegetarians and women who experience heavy periods are at high risk for iron deficiency. However, hair shedding might also be provoked due to sudden estrogen fluctuation and often occurs in pregnant women.7. Damaged hair and other health issues
Although hair problems can be caused by other health problems, most patients more commonly have damaged hair due to heat-treating and coloring. Using more than one hot tool per day can lead to hair dryness, brittleness, and loss. If you use your flat iron every day, use serums and shine drops since they have the ability to preserve the hair when using direct and indirect heat.
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