What are the 287 genes that cause alopecia?

Genes That Cause Alopecia

There are several potential causes of hair loss, whether it manifests as baldness or a more subtle but noticeable thinning of the hair. For some people, hair thinning is a symptom of an underlying health issue that, once treated, will reverse itself. It is crucial to consult a dermatologist if you are experiencing baldness or thinning hair to get to the bottom of the issue and find out how to either stop baldness or start new hair growth. Look into the most frequent hair loss causes before making the trip to the doctor.

Hormonal imbalances

Teaching molecule of estrogen as a woman hormone molecule of testosteron as man hormone

Hormonal imbalances can indeed contribute to certain types of alopecia, or hair loss. Here are some hormonal factors commonly associated with alopecia:

  1. Androgens (DHT): Androgens are male hormones that are also present in females, albeit in smaller amounts. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone, is particularly implicated in androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness. In individuals with a genetic predisposition, DHT can bind to hair follicles, leading to shrinkage and eventual cessation of hair production.
  2. Thyroid Hormones: Thyroid hormones, including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), play a crucial role in regulating metabolism. Both hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can cause hair loss. In hypothyroidism, hair may become thin, dry, and brittle, while in hyperthyroidism, hair loss may occur as a result of accelerated metabolism.
  3. Estrogens and Progesterone: Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels, particularly during pregnancy and menopause, can affect hair growth. During pregnancy, elevated estrogen levels may lead to thicker, fuller hair, while postpartum hormonal changes can trigger temporary hair shedding known as telogen effluvium. Similarly, fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone during menopause can contribute to hair thinning and loss.
  4. Cortisol (Stress Hormone): Chronic stress can lead to an overproduction of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to increased shedding and potentially contributing to conditions like telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.
  5. Insulin and Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1): Insulin and IGF-1 are involved in regulating glucose metabolism and cell growth, respectively. Insulin resistance and imbalances in insulin and IGF-1 levels have been implicated in androgenetic alopecia and other forms of hair loss.

It’s essential to note that while hormonal imbalances can contribute to alopecia, they often interact with genetic predispositions and environmental factors. Additionally, hair loss due to hormonal imbalances may require targeted medical management, such as hormone replacement therapy or medications to regulate hormone levels. If you’re experiencing significant hair loss, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options tailored to your specific needs.

Thyroid problems

Genes That Cause Alopecia

Thyroid problems, specifically hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), can indeed contribute to hair loss or alopecia. Here’s how each condition can affect hair health:

  1. Hypothyroidism and Hair Loss: When the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, it can lead to a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, and hair loss. In hypothyroidism, hair loss is often diffuse and may be most noticeable as thinning of the hair on the scalp, eyebrows, and even body hair. The hair may become dry, brittle, and coarse. This type of hair loss is usually gradual and may not be immediately apparent.
  2. Hyperthyroidism and Hair Loss: Conversely, in hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormone, hair loss can also occur. Hair may become fine and may fall out more easily. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, rapid heart rate, anxiety, and heat intolerance.
  3. Telogen Effluvium: Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can also trigger a condition called telogen effluvium, which is characterized by excessive shedding of hair. This shedding typically occurs about two to three months after the onset of the thyroid condition and is often temporary. Once the thyroid problem is treated and stabilized, hair growth usually resumes within several months.

It’s important to note that hair loss due to thyroid problems can often be managed or reversed with appropriate treatment for the underlying thyroid condition. Treatment may involve medication to regulate thyroid hormone levels, such as levothyroxine for hypothyroidism or anti-thyroid medications, radioactive iodine therapy, or surgery for hyperthyroidism.

Pregnancy

Woman putting drops in her hair to take care of herself

Pregnancy alopecia, also known as postpartum hair loss or telogen effluvium, is a common condition that affects many women after giving birth. Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy-related hair loss:

  1. Timing: Pregnancy alopecia typically occurs around three to six months after giving birth. During pregnancy, elevated estrogen levels prolong the growth phase of the hair cycle, resulting in thicker, fuller hair. However, after childbirth, estrogen levels drop, and many hairs enter the resting phase of the hair cycle simultaneously, leading to increased shedding.
  2. Symptoms: Women experiencing postpartum hair loss may notice excessive shedding or clumps of hair coming out when washing or brushing their hair. Hair loss is often most noticeable around the temples, crown, and hairline but can affect the entire scalp.
  3. Duration: Pregnancy-related hair loss is usually temporary and self-limiting. Most women will notice a significant reduction in shedding within six to twelve months after giving birth as hormone levels stabilize, and the hair growth cycle returns to its normal pattern.
  4. Causes: The exact cause of postpartum hair loss is hormonal fluctuations. During pregnancy, increased estrogen levels prolong the growth phase of the hair cycle, resulting in thicker, fuller hair. After childbirth, estrogen levels drop, leading to more hair entering the resting phase and eventually shedding.
  5. Management: While pregnancy-related hair loss cannot be entirely prevented, there are several strategies to manage it and support healthy hair growth:
    • Be gentle with your hair: Avoid excessive brushing, tight hairstyles, or heat styling, which can further damage weakened hair.
    • Eat a balanced diet: Consuming a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein can support overall hair health.
    • Manage stress: High levels of stress can exacerbate hair loss, so practicing stress-reduction techniques like mindfulness, meditation, or yoga may be beneficial.
    • Consider haircare products: Using volumizing or thickening shampoos and conditioners can help improve the appearance of thinning hair.
  6. Consultation: If you’re concerned about postpartum hair loss or if it’s causing significant distress, consider consulting a dermatologist or healthcare provider. They can assess your condition, rule out any underlying issues, and provide recommendations for managing hair loss effectively.

Certain medications

Bald man battles cancer with chemotherapy

Certain medications can indeed cause or contribute to alopecia, or hair loss, as a side effect. Here are some categories of medications known to be associated with hair loss:

  1. Chemotherapy Drugs: Chemotherapy medications used to treat cancer are notorious for causing hair loss. They target rapidly dividing cells, which include not only cancer cells but also hair follicles, leading to diffuse hair loss.
  2. Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners): Certain anticoagulant medications, such as heparin and warfarin, have been reported to cause hair loss as a side effect. This type of hair loss is usually diffuse and reversible upon discontinuation of the medication.
  3. Antidepressants: Some antidepressant medications, particularly those classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), may cause hair loss as a side effect. However, not all antidepressants have this effect, and the mechanism by which they cause hair loss is not entirely understood.
  4. Anticonvulsants: Certain anticonvulsant medications used to treat epilepsy or seizures, such as valproate and carbamazepine, have been associated with hair loss as a side effect. This type of hair loss is usually reversible upon discontinuation of the medication or adjustment of the dosage.
  5. Immunosuppressants: Medications that suppress the immune system, such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus, are sometimes used to treat autoimmune conditions or prevent organ rejection after transplantation. These medications can cause hair loss as a side effect.
  6. Hormonal Medications: Hormonal medications, such as hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills), hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and medications used to treat hormone-sensitive conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can sometimes cause hair loss as a side effect. This type of hair loss is often related to changes in hormone levels.
  7. Statins: Statin medications used to lower cholesterol levels, such as atorvastatin and simvastatin, have been reported to cause hair loss in some individuals. However, the relationship between statins and hair loss is not well-understood, and more research is needed to clarify this association.

If you’re experiencing hair loss and suspect it may be related to a medication you’re taking, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your medication regimen, discuss potential side effects, and explore alternative treatment options if necessary. It’s important not to stop taking any prescribed medications without consulting your healthcare provider, as this could have serious consequences for your health.

 287 genetic trigger of hair loss

Male pattern baldness has been the subject of a great deal of study, which is no different; scientists from Scotland have found nearly 300 genetic areas linked to the condition. Nonetheless, these discoveries do not indicate that a cure for baldness will be available soon; however, they bring us closer to discovering a solution. Some experts believe that the discoveries pave the path for a better knowledge of the genetic origins of hair loss.

In this particular research, the study team examined the genetic data of more than 52,000 males and identified 287 genetic areas that are connected to extreme hair loss. According to the study’s findings, a significant proportion of the uncovered genes are involved in hair formation and structure. According to the explanation provided by the researchers, the genes might one day serve as targets for creating medications that treat baldness. It was discovered that the X chromosome, passed down from mothers to sons, is responsible for many genetic markers for male pattern baldness.

Can the hair be stopped from falling out?

Young man looking at his hair in the mirror representing the problem of baldness

Preventing hair loss entirely can be challenging, as it can be influenced by various factors such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, medical conditions, medications, and lifestyle factors. However, there are several strategies that may help reduce the rate of hair loss and promote healthy hair growth:

  1. Maintain a balanced diet: Eating a nutritious diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein is essential for healthy hair growth. Include foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your diet.
  2. Manage stress: Chronic stress can contribute to hair loss, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress effectively. Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy.
  3. Be gentle with your hair: Avoid harsh hair treatments, excessive heat styling, tight hairstyles, and rough handling of your hair, as these can damage the hair shaft and contribute to breakage and hair loss.
  4. Avoid overprocessing: Limit the use of hair dyes, bleaches, and chemical treatments that can weaken the hair and lead to damage and breakage. Opt for gentler, more natural hair care products when possible.
  5. Protect your hair from the sun and environmental damage: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and environmental pollutants can damage the hair and contribute to hair loss. Wear a hat or use hair products with UV protection when spending time outdoors, and avoid exposure to pollutants and toxins as much as possible.
  6. Maintain scalp health: Keep your scalp clean and healthy by washing your hair regularly with a gentle shampoo and conditioner. Consider using products specifically formulated to promote scalp health and stimulate hair growth.
  7. Consider topical treatments: Certain over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments, such as minoxidil (Rogaine), may help slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth in some individuals. Talk to your healthcare provider or dermatologist to determine if these treatments are appropriate for you.
  8. Seek medical advice: If you’re experiencing significant or sudden hair loss, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or dermatologist to determine the underlying cause and explore appropriate treatment options.

While these strategies may help reduce hair loss and promote healthy hair growth, it’s essential to remember that individual results may vary, and some forms of hair loss may not be entirely preventable.

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