Hair loss in men is usually referred to as ‘male pattern baldness’ because of the pattern of receding hairline, followed by thinning on the crown and temples, and then often more widespread hair loss on the scalp. The medical term for the condition is ‘androgenic alopecia’.
Progressive hair loss in men is very common, affecting about 50% over the age of 50. It is estimated around 6.5 million men in the UK are affected by the condition, which appears in most males by the age of 65. However, in some cases, it can affect men in their 20’s and 30’s.
The three factors most likely to cause hair loss in men are age, genetics, and hormones. The condition causes the hormone testosterone to be converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone prevents nutrients from being absorbed by hair follicles, which causes them to shrink and fall out. No new hair will grow, and remaining hair will be short and thin.
Hair loss can also be triggered by other medical issues such as stress, major surgery, prostate cancer, vitamin deficiency, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. If the onset of the problem is sudden, and unexplained by age or genetic inheritance, it may be linked to a serious illness. In this case, a medical professional should be consulted.
Some men will accept the balding process as a natural consequence of aging, while others will find it causes acute psychological distress, especially if they are in the younger age groups and are worried about their image. It can even lead to anxiety and depression, and cause low self-esteem.
There are some treatments available, over the counter or at online pharmacies. Some prescription treatments may also be given, which work by blocking the production of DHT in the scalp. They usually about six months to show results. Other alternatives include hair transplantation, which involves a surgical procedure.
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