According to WebMD, a person’s locks can give clues about their overall health. Below are a few conditions that can affect the hair, and the signs to keep an eye out for.
Hair protein, known as keratin, is a protein that makes up the structure of the hair. Without protein in your diet, you can develop a keratin deficiency. Protein deficiency has been linked to hair thinning and hair loss. According to Everyday Health, the average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day.
If you are looking to up your protein intake, good sources of protein include chickpeas, tilapia, Greek yogurt, and chicken breast. Please speak to a doctor before making any dietary changes.
If your hair is suddenly shedding more than normal, this could be an indication of low iron stores or anemia. It is not known why anemia may cause hair loss, but iron is essential for many bodily functions that may include hair growth.
If a doctor diagnoses you with an iron deficiency, they may suggest you take an iron supplement or eat foods that are high in iron. Foods high in iron include spinach, shellfish, legumes, and red meat. This may help with hair loss.
Stress causes DNA damage and reduces the supply of pigment-producing cells in hair follicles. This causes gray hair and hair loss.
A type of stress known as oxidative stress can also cause gray hair. Oxidative stress causes free radicals to inhibit the body’s repair processes, which may affect pigment-producing cells.
However, gray hair is a natural and normal part of aging. Genetics can play a role in when your hair starts going gray.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This may cause increased hair shedding. A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is required for diagnosis. Treatments include taking medication and changing your diet.
Along with thinning hair, thyroid disorders put you at a greater risk for alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune hair-loss disorder that causes round patches of sudden hair loss.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, please speak to your doctor.
Cushing’s syndrome occurs when the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol. Symptoms include a rounded face, stretch marks on your skin, high blood pressure, bone loss, and brittle hair.
Too much cortisol can cause hair and skin to become dry and brittle. Cushing’s syndrome requires a medical diagnosis and must be treated by a medical professional. Treatments include taking prescribed medications, radiation therapy, and reducing corticosteroid use.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, please speak to a medical professional.